Choosing a Major
A major in college is significant, but your life does not depend on it. You can find success in a wide range of careers and industries, regardless of your major. For some careers, a specific major is vitally important, i.e., accounting, engineering and medicine. If you pursue a career in business, a business degree will be more helpful and impressive to prospective employers, but you are not eliminated from consideration with a major in general liberal arts. Choosing the right major might mean that you will get more from your college experience, and that you can avoid additional training or education later on. So there are real benefits to selecting a major!
Take a look at the links that follow. If you'd appreciate additional guidance and advice, go see the helpful staff in the Student Career Center.
Tools for Choosing a Major
The Career Center has a variety of tools as well as reference material to assist in choosing a major.
What Can I Do With This Major
This is a very useful online reference. Scan the list and see occupations that correlate with various majors. (Note that TMC does not offer all of these areas of study.) Click on "links" to learn more about opportunities in the major.
Strong Interest Inventory
The Strong Interest Inventory is used widely in career counseling to help individuals correlate their interests and personality traits with majors and careers. The assessment is 317 simple questions and takes between 30-45 minutes to complete. When you are finished, contact our office at extension 3716 or at OSEPD@masters.edu to schedule a personal review of your results, which will be available immediately. You will not be able to obtain your results directly; you must make an appointment with the Office of Student Employment and Professional Development.
The Strong Interest Inventory is offered to TMC students at no cost!
Steps for Choosing a Major
"Know thyself" is sound advice. Don't choose a major because someone you know did, or because someone else is telling you to. You're different in many ways. Think about what you want to DO and then associate your likely professions with a major.
Make a list of the following:
- What jobs have I enjoyed in the past?
- What activities do I enjoy during my spare time?
- What did I used to enjoy but maybe haven't done for a long time?
- What do I do well?
- What classes do I enjoy the most?
- In what subjects have I had the greatest success?
- What do I value?
- What would I do if income was not a consideration? What would I do for free?
If you have difficulty doing this, the Student Career Center can help you clarify your values, skills and interests. They can then help you connect those chararcteristics to career areas.
Most people evaluate their career after they are in it. Their #1 concern was to get a job for income. They either thought they knew what they would enjoy, or they didn’t give it much thought. Sometimes, after they’ve been in it for awhile, they realize it isn’t what they thought it would be.
You have a great advantage! You don’t yet have a career, so you can do your evaluating BEFORE you start!
Talk to people in fields that you think you would enjoy:
- What’s it like?
- What is the upside?
- What is the downside?
- What major would they recommend you consider for a career in this field?
- Spend a day with them. What does that tell you about their job?
Talk with professors knowledgeable in your possible field. What can they tell you that helps you understand more about it?
Don’t feel pressured to make a decision until you are ready.
Along the way, take basic required courses that will work for several different majors. Involve yourself in a variety of course experiences to “test the waters.”
Try taking courses in the majors you are considering. How do you like them?
Take time to supplement your formal education with real-life learning experiences. Extracurricular activities, internships, mission trips, summer and part-time jobs all play essential roles in developing your skills, as well as giving you exposure to careers and occupations.
Talk frequently with your academic advisor, with your professors and with the career counselor. And, of course, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!
I Think I May Have Chosen the Wrong Major!
Your choice of career and success in life are not necessarily dependent upon a certain major. Employers are looking for transferable skills that are developed across a broad range of studies:
- Verbal and written communications
- Problem solving and critical thinking
- Relating to and understanding people
- Strong work ethic
- Integrity and reliability
If you leave college with these, you’ll be well-prepared to enter the job market, regardless of your major!