»Choosing a Major

The Process: A Road Trip in Life

The best way to view the process of choosing a major is to think of it as a road trip.  Just like planning a road trip, you need to gather and analyze relevant information about the roads you are traveling, the sights along the way, and your destination city.  Just as there are several routes to any destination, there are several routes to deciding on a major - one is not necessarily better than the other; you will just explore different scenery along the way.  There will be speed bumps, hills and roadblocks, but remember, it takes preparation, time and energy to follow the right path and end up where you want to be!  And yes, it's ok to stop and ask for directions!

Some of you may know exactly where you want to be after graduation but do not know how to get there.  In this case, exploring your destination (or your career field) is in order.  Once you've learned about your destination, you can find majors that will give you the skills necessary to enter that particular career.

Others may have a few ideas about what to major in, but do not know what they can do with that major after college.  For those of you in this category, the Careers section of the Career Development Center's website.

The information below will help guide you through the process of choosing a major.  Please note that Mile Markers 2 and 3 are interchangeable, depending on your preference. 

And don't forget, the Academic Advising Center and the Career Development Center are your exclusive travel services.  We can help you plan your directions, experience the sights, and assist you with any trouble along the way!

Please note:

Change of Major or Minor Program Forms submitted at the Registrar's Office during priority registration dates will not be processed until the conclusion of the registration appointment period.

New Students can change their major on the first day of their first semester of enrollment at Chapman University.

+-Mile Marker 1: Self-Discovery

Understanding yourself is key to knowing where to go with your life and what drives you!

When searching for a major, you are the vehicle.  Therefore it is important to know how you operate, what makes you tick and what your capabilities and limitations are.  The Career Development Center has a variety of self-discovery inventories and activities designed to help you gain a sense of your interests, skills, abilities and values.

You can also use the Resources link to check out resources available to assist you through the major exploration process.

+-Mile Marker 2: Exploring Majors

Gathering information about various majors and your destination is important in deciding where you want to be after graduation.

Before taking any big trip, you must gather information about the roads and cities by researching and purchasing accurate maps.  A valuable method for learning about the best places for dining and sightseeing is to talk to local citizens.  Likewise, when deciding on a major, talk to professors, friends, alumni and family members in various majors and career fields to get an idea of the opportunities, prerequisites, and general rigor of the major and how their major relates to particular career fields.

The Academic Advising Center sponsors a Choosing a Major workshop and a Discover Your Major Fair that can help you start the process of exploring all of the majors Chapman has to offer.  Additionally, attending a student organization meeting, volunteering, and participating in internships or research opportunities may help you gain a better understanding of certain majors. 

To learn about the academic requirements for the majors you are interested in, check out the current University catalog.

+-Mile Marker 3: Exploring Careers

Some of you may know exactly where you want to be after graduation, but do not know how to get there.  In this case, exploring your destination (career field) is in order.

Studies show that students who have gathered information by way of researching the ins and outs of a career through talking to professionals, participating in internships, and sorting through printed and online resources are said to have greater "career maturity."  Subsequently, these students are more focused on successfully finding and beginning a career shortly after graduation.

The Career Development Center offers printed and online resources, individual counseling, Career Fairs and internship opportunities for students wishing to explore career options.

+-Destination Reached: A Major

Congratulations on deciding on a major!

By going through this process, hopefully you have gained a better sense of yourself and where you are going.  Although you have decided on a major, your trip has not ended.  It is important to continuously review and evaluate how you are doing in your major, participate in career-related opportunities such as conducting research with a professor, participating in internships, and exploring study abroad and career possibilities for your major during your junior and senior years.

This process has fueled you with the appropriate tools and skills to make informed decisions.  Making major decisions will confront you throughout your life, but rest assured that you have mastered the basics for collecting and analyzing relevant information needed to make these decisions.  We hope you will utilize the idea of a "process" when faced with critical decisions in life beyond Chapman, but for now, your goal is to immerse yourself in the culture of the major, find your niche, and begin thinking of "movin' on up."

Content used with permission from Hartwick University Academic Advising

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