»Choosing and Using Your Major

Haven’t decided what you want to do when you grow up? Well, the good news is that’s not something you have to answer quite yet. Surprisingly your career and your major aren’t necessarily the same thing.  Here are a few steps to help you on the road to finding a college major that you can be happy and successful with.

Step 1: Understand that picking a major is not the same as picking a profession

This is something that really needs to sink in. Sure, there are certain careers that have a direct linear path from major to career, such as engineering and nursing. However, almost everything else has no real direct relationship. In today’s job market, companies are looking for individuals who have strong communication skills the ability to think critically.

So, no matter what major you choose, it’s important to complement it with volunteering, school clubs and organizations, and internships. There are Art majors who become lawyers, Economics majors who become veterinarians, and Government majors who become ministers. In all these examples, you are able to see the vast options available to different majors.

Step 2: Choose a major that you enjoy and in which you can academically succeed

If you enjoy the major, you will enjoy doing the work. In turn, your enjoyment of the work will allow you to excel academically.  With a good G.P.A., you will build a strong foundation to get a job and/or get into a good graduate program. 

Step 3: Give yourself the opportunity to research and explore different majors

At this point, don’t worry about what you’re going to be or do for the rest of your life. Think about what you’re going to do in the next four years and plan accordingly. Give yourself permission to not know and simply explore possibilities. In the process, you will be learning critical skills that any liberal arts major will give you, such as: critical thinking, clear communication skills, professional writing skills, and the ability to research. 

Here are a few ways that you can explore majors at Chapman University:

  • Research on Panther Major Search to see all the different possibilities for majors
  • Review the undergraduate catalogue to learn more about the different majors
  • Talk to Professors, Upperclassmen, and Alumni
  • Take an introductory class in a major that you feel may interest you
If you need advice about what the requirements are for each major, contact academic advising at 714-744-7959 (BK 406).  Also, if having done the research you feel the need for more assistance come into Quick Questions at the Career Development Center and speak to a career counselor.

+-Major Card Sort

Deciding upon your major is one of the first critical decisions you will make as a student.  But what happens when you have trouble making a final decision in the selection process? 

How can you know that the major you select is going to be the one that makes you really happy and you can be successful doing?

What if you are stuck between two or more majors and you just cannot decide?

There are over 50 undergraduate majors offered at Chapman University, how do you narrow that long list down? 

The Major Card Sort is specifically designed to help you narrow down your choices to the ones that are the most interesting and relevant to you.  You are welcome to print out your results at the end and bring them in to the CDC during Quick Question hours.  Take advantage of the opportunity to review your choices with a Career Educator and get the next step to finalizing your major decision.

 

+-Choosing Your Major Checklist Guide

The Career Development Center offers career counseling to assist you in choosing a major. However, before you utilize these services, follow this simple checklist to make sure you are prepared to speak with your counselor.

  1. Scan the list of majors listed in your Chapman catalog.
  2. Mark those majors that are appealing, even if you aren't sure what they are. Use your gut reaction and resist the temptation to eliminate majors because they aren't "practical."
  3. Look for patterns of interests. Do all the majors seem to be in a particular school? Do they share common characteristics? This can help you identify patterns within your academic interests.
  4. Read about the majors in the catalog. Do the classes sound interesting? This is a very important step because your idea of what that major is about may be very different than reality.
  5. Create a list of 3-5 majors you would like to explore.
  6. Utilize our "What You Can Do With Your Major" section below to read about your preferred majors.
  7. If you are still interested in the major, talk to other students who are in that major and faculty who teach the classes.
  8. Skim books that describe the occupations of people in that major. The Career Development Center has a career library with books that can be checked out. You can also use the Occupational Outlook Handbook found at www.bls.gov.
  9. Consider combining your interests by double majoring or having a major and a minor.
  10. Get an internship or part-time job in a field that's related to your major. This can be a great way to confirm that the major is right for you.

+-Online Resources to Research Majors

Check out these online resources that can help you research majors and what type of careers to which they can be related.

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Quick Questions

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