Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How to Pick a Major

graphic with majors on sign post
Picking a major can seem like a daunting task at times. Selecting an academic program is a big commitment and can feel overwhelming to even the most confident student. We recommend weighing several factors before making your choice, including exploring your interests, researching related occupations, and reviewing degree opportunities.

Exploring your Interests. Personal interests and passions drive major choice for many. To gather clues about what majors might be a good fit for you, reflect on the following questions:
1) Think about why you decided to come to RIT in the first place.
2) What about this campus do you enjoy being a part of, what kind of clubs intrigue you?
3) What websites, apps, magazines, and books do you enjoy most? What do you like about them?
4) Which classes did you enjoy the most in high school?
5) Which topics do you enjoy discussing with others?
If you find yourself struggling to identify interests in connection with majors you can do a self-guided interest assessment or make an appointment with a career counselor by calling 585-475-2301. You also may find our Career group, Break Through the Career Clutter: An Exploration Workshop Series helpful!

Be curious and do some research!  Allow yourself to be curious about any major! Keep in mind that committing to a major is not committing to a specific occupation. There are many occupations that can fall under the umbrella of a single major. If you want to explore all of the occupations associated with a given major What Can I Do With This Major?  is a great place to start. Once you have an idea of the occupations available for majors you are interested in, you can research average starting salaries, job outlook, work environment, important skill sets, and more at resources like Occupational Outlook Handbook and ONet Online. Informational interviews are an excellent way to increase your knowledge about a specific major or occupation. These interviews can be with a professional in the field you are thinking about entering or with a student or faculty/staff member associated with the major you are exploring.

Unsure? If you are unsure whether your current major is a perfect fit or not, that is okay! Sometimes learning more about your major can help clarify things. Various types of support are available to any student considering changing their major. Meeting with a career counselor is a good place to start. We can help you clarify your thoughts and review your options. You also might like to attend Thinking of Changing your Major?  Workshop series. Remember, it’s never too late to explore your options and start planning for your future!

graphic dream job sign

Explore alternatives! If there is something you are interested in learning more about that you are not learning through your major, explore a minor or immersion in that subject area. RIT has a lot of options, so explore them all! Dual degrees, double majors, and combined degrees (such as a BS/MS) are good options for some students. See your academic advisor for assistance navigating academic requirements and making sure you stay on track.

By Amanda Dunn
Career Counselor Intern
RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education

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