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Majors and Careers

Researching majors and careers and identifying occupational interests is an important part of the career development process.  Your knowledge and understanding of specific career fields will allow you to:

    • Choose/confirm your choice of major
    • Select an area of concentration or related minor
    • Choose relevant courses to fulfill electives
    • Develop knowledge necessary for entrance into graduate or professional school
    • Target internships in specific occupations and with specific organizations


Four-Step Exploration and Decision-Making Process


1. Learn about yourself

Self-assessment is an essential first step in making informed and realistic decisions about your major and career.  It may help you to identify and explore important aspects of your personality while gaining a clearer picture of your vocational choices.  The CDC offers several career assessments/inventories that may help you to identify your skills, abilities, interests and values.  The results of these "tests" may help you to target both majors and careers that complement your personality. Click here for more information on career tests.

2.  Gather information

Once you have gained some knowledge about your skills, interests and values and identified majors and careers that are compatible with your vocational personality, use the resources below to gather information.  Having a greater understanding of majors and careers will help you to narrow down your options and make informed decisions about your future.

3.  Evaluate your options

With knowledge of potential majors and/or careers, you are ready to organize, clarify, and evaluate your options.

      • Prioritize your options by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each option based on your research.  Be sure to keep in mind your own interests, values and motivated skills. 
      • Talk with your faculty advisor, a staff member in the Career Development Center, your family, and friends about your ideas and options.  Expressing your ideas and talking with others will help you gain new perspectives and perhaps new possibilities.  
      • Talk directly with someone already in the field.  Learning first-hand about the expectations and tasks involved in a major or occupation can help you make more informed choices about your future.  More information on informational interviewing.  
      • Visit the academic department of your intended major to learn about the current entrance requirements and to determine how your credits/completed courses can be applied to the major.

                           OR

      • Test your interest in an occupation by job shadowing with a professional currently working in a field.  You will learn more about the occupation, understand what a particular job is like on a daily basis, develop professional contacts, and experience the culture of an organization.  Learn more about job shadowing.

Still unsure?  For some students the process of narrowing options is very difficult because they either have too many ideas or have not found a major that truly interests them. The following strategies may help:

      • Consider ways in which you can combine your interests either by completing a minor or a double major.
      • Take additional career assessments to get a clearer picture of your preferences. Be sure to meet with a Career Development Center staff member who can interpret the results and help you to work through the process and prioritize the information.
      • Get experience in the workplace through volunteer experiences, part-time and summer work, and internships to help you to further explore your interests and clarify your major and career goals.
      • If you are experiencing difficulties with anxiety, depression, family and relationship issues, substance use, and other concerns contact University Counseling Services to set up an appointment to talk with a counselor.  Personal concerns or stressors can prevent you from accurately assessing your options and making good decisions about your future.    
         

4.  Commit to a major/career path

      • Go to the academic department of your major/intended major to discuss your plan.
      • Meet with a departmental faculty advisor each semester to review the checksheet for your major and discuss options for electives, internships, undergraduate research and involvement in the department/discipline.
      • Work with the Career Development Center to explore and engage in internships, volunteer work and summer employment. Click here to learn more.
Learn more about KU Career Communities by clicking here