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Feel like the only person who can’t decide on a major?
Nationally, three out of four entering students express some uncertainty about their choice of major, while between one and two-thirds change majors.
Recent studies suggest that it is typical for undergraduates to try out four or five majors before arriving at a decision. So if you haven't chosen a major or are uncomfortable with the one you have chosen, you're in good company. (University of Minnesota: CDC)
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What Is a College Major? You're required to major in a specific academic subject (or professional field) to demonstrate sustained, high-level work in one field. Depending on the college, you might be able to major in two fields, have a major and a minor, or even create your own major. (www.collegeboard.com)
The best way to find out about majors is to take courses.
I’ll just get my Gen. Eds. out of the way first.
Picking a major and a career are the same thing
Choosing one major means giving up all the others.
The major I pick now will determine my lifelong career.
(Courtesy Penn State University)
NO TEST can tell you what to pick! Ultimately the decision is yours.
How Do I Choose? First and second-year students usually take more general courses while they try to decide on a major. After this initial "shopping" period, coursework becomes more focused and specific. Make sure that you have genuine interest though. You don't want to choose a major by process of elimination -- that could take a while. Take courses in areas that appeal to you, then try to focus on a subject that will interest and motivate you. You'll do better, and your motivation will continue through college and into a job. (www.collegeboard.com)
Some majors strongly correlate to career options, while others are less directly related. For example, a Nursing major will most likely become a Nurse. However, a Psychology major may become a teacher, case worker, detective or an insurance claims agent, to name a few!
Degree options at JJC include:
Transfer Degrees AA = Associate in Arts AS = Associate in Science Career and Technical Degrees and Certificates AAS = Associate in Applied Science CAC = Certificate of Achievement CCO = Certificate of Completion
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I need some help getting started choosing a major. Do you have any tips to get me started?
Examine what you value in work e.g. helping society, working under pressure, group affiliation, etc.
Think about the courses you've done well in and enjoyed before.
3. Explore your options. Investigate the instructors and courses. Talk to students who have a major and ask them what they like/dislike about their subject or classes.
4. Explore internship opportunities to get a feel for the kinds of jobs you could get with different majors.
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5. Consult your academic advisor and/or JJC catalog to consider the prerequisite requirements for majors. Consider whether you would be willing to spend the necessary time and money. 6. Look at the different fields to which your major can be applied. 7. Think about the growth of the field that interests you. Is the field expanding? Are graduates with your major being hired right out of college, or do they need additional training? 8. Contemplate the earning potential and base salary of jobs that are related to certain majors. Think of the lifestyle you would like to maintain and how certain salaries may affect it. (University of Minnesota: CDC)
When Should I Declare a Major? At most colleges, you aren't required to declare a major until the end of your sophomore year. If you're in a two-year degree program, you'll probably select a major at the start because your course of studies is much shorter. Declaring a major does not commit you forever.
Most lives can be divided into a triangle. Time and energy spent in activities on one side of the triangle affects the time and energy left over for the others. Think about your life.
What are your obligations and responsibilities? Are you in a relationship? Do you live on or off campus? How much time do you spend with your family and friends? How much time do you spend working and studying? Different majors will have different impacts on your lifestyle balance.
Think of the time and energy needed to succeed in a particular major. What effect would this have upon the shape of your lifestyle triangle? Please take some time to write down your personal observations regarding these questions. If you have to get away from your computer to do this, do so. In order for the response provided by this questionnaire further down this page to be helpful you will need to provide accurate information about lifestyle goals. (University of Minnesota: CDC)
Would you enjoy the subject matter, activities and people involved in a field? What you've enjoyed in life up to this point is a good indication of what you'll like in a major.
Your academic record and personal experience give important clues about possible directions. Please take the time to write down courses and activities you are interested in and enjoy. Now compare this list with the one you compiled under the abilities section and notice the common areas.
Make another list of these common areas and use it to help you fill out the questionnaire below. (University of Minnesota: CDC)
Representative Career Opportunities in the CONVENTIONAL Area
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES and Organizations Related to the Social Area
Any student club or organization
Student work-study programs
Should I choose a major based on a career that is in demand?
No! The job market, like everything else, is cyclical. A career that appears to be in demand or trendy now could be saturated by the time you graduate.
There are many factors that help change market demand, such as large numbers of students entering the field or changing economic patterns.
Be true to yourself. Choose a major that genuinely interests you.
Even Famous People Chose Majors That Are Not Related to Their Current Job! Return to Main Menu More Famous People… Engineering Herbie Hancock Russian Area Studies Bryant Gumbel Economics Danny Glover Fine Arts Patrick Ewing Economics John Elway Chemical Engineering, but left after 2 semesters to pursue modeling Cindy Crawford Business Administration Kevin Costner Physical Education Bill Cosby Film Francis Ford Coppola Anthropology & Theatre (double major) Glenn Close English Chevy Chase
… and here are a few more. Return to Main Menu English Stephen Spielberg American Studies Maria Shriver French Brooke Shields Designed his own major consisting of Physical Fitness, Communications and International Marketing Arnold Schwarzenegger Chemistry Janet Reno Journalism Brad Pitt Psychology Jane Pauley Philosophy Steve Martin English Stephen King Sociology Martin Luther King Started off as a Math major, and ended up with Geography Michael Jordan Economics Mick Jagger
Have You Considered Taking a Course to Help You Explore Your Career Options?
What is this course about? It is a systematic approach to the process of career and life-style planning. The course provides students with an opportunity to explore their values, interests, skills and experiences as they relate to occupational and life-style choices. Students will research potential careers through traditional and on-line methods. Labor market information, decision making strategies and goal-setting are used to develop an individual career action plan.
This class does transfer to other colleges and universities and does not have any prerequisites.
If you still require any advice on choosing your major, feel free to stop by the Student Services Center in D1010 on the Main Campus. We would be happy to talk with you!
Tele. No. (815) 280-2756
Multicultural Transfer Center
Tele. No. (815) 280-2537
A list of academic advisors can be found in the Student Handbook.
RESOURCES A special thanks to the University of Minnesota’s Career Development Center for sharing valuable resources and information. Pascarella, E.T. and Terezini, P.T., How College Affects Students (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, 1991) Blank, B., Miller, P.J., and Fjoberg, G., Urban Middle-Class Lifestyles in Transition (Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 1983) Johansson, C.B., Finding an Interesting Course (Minnesota Statewide Testing Program, University of Minnesota; Minneapolis, MN, 1992) Holland, J.L., Making Vocational Choices: A Theory of Careers (2nd Edition) (Prentice Hall; Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1992) Blank, B., Guide to Career Decision-Making (University of Northern Colorado; Greely, CO, 1987)