Experts estimate that more than 25% of entering students are undecided about their major and more than 75% of college students who begin their studies in declared majors change their minds at least once before they graduate.
Choosing a major is one of those decisions that comes to you in your own way and is based on your personal interests, goals, and life experiences. Some students declare their major and change their minds several times before making a final choice, while others prefer to take time to explore options that they have before declaring.
Students often think that choosing a major is the same thing as choosing a career (and vice-versa). Although these two choices are related, choosing one doesn't automatically mean you've chosen the other. Some majors directly relate to careers, dental assisting for example. Other majors provide broad career options, like business.
What are you most passionate about?
Think about what it is that you really like to do. When you find out what it is you like to do then you can move forward in deciding on a major. For example, do you like working with children? Then maybe you should major in education. Or, if you like helping the sick…perhaps you might want to major in the medical field and so on. Bear in mind that it will be to your advantage to get your degree in something you have a passion for in that you will find it less difficult to obtain and more rewarding than something you don't have a zeal for.
Which subjects do you earn your best grades in?
Another way to decide on a major is to observe which subjects you usually earn your best grades in. You might want to look into pursing your degree in this area. On the contrary, take a good look at the subjects you have the difficult time in, or did not enjoy, majors related to these courses might not be the best fit for you.
- The course catalog. This will list information about each major, tell you what courses are required, and what courses are offered.
- The college web. Browse through the websites of different departments on campus. Department websites probably will link to websites maintained by professors, who sometimes put information about their classes online.
- The web. Use the web to find out general information about what different majors are like and what kinds of careers majors go into. (see the Major Research and Major Links below)
- Counselors. Talk to him or her about your interests and ask for some suggestions.
- Professors. If a major sounds interesting to you, with a professor in that department. Ask questions.
- Other students. One of your best sources of information on campus comes from your fellow students. Through student government, clubs and other classes find students and ask them what they like and dislike about their majors. Remember, ask a variety of students these questions. Every student's experience is different, so don't rely on any one student to give you the scoop on a major.
- College majors guides. Information about majors also are available in guidebooks. The LRC Career Collection offers hard copy and online career guides.
Choosing one major means giving up all the others. Sometimes students who find out how much time it would take to complete an associates degree decide instead to complete a certificate and then go on for an associate's or bachelor's degree in another area. Graduate degrees also do not have to be in the discipline as undergraduate degrees. For example, a student who earns a associate's degree in music might go on to earn a bachelor's degree in marketing and a master's in management.
My major will determine what I do for the rest of my life. Just like students change their majors, graduates change their careers. There are doctors, for example, who decide to become lawyers, and lawyers who decide to become doctors. Although these are unusual examples, it's not unusual for most people to change careers several times during their professional lives. A teacher, for example, might become a principal or a superintendent, or an engineer might move into a management position.
Most jobs also change over time, whether people want them to or not. Many jobs that exist today will be very different five years from now or may even be obsolete by then. New types of jobs are emerging every year, and most of us have no way of knowing what those jobs will be or what type of education will be needed in order to qualify for them.
These sites not only provide information on majors, but also self-assessment tools to help match interests and majors.
Data on majors (four-year degrees): What's It Worth?
Another way to explore majors is to research the program at your school and the professional organizations related to the majors. We have gather just some sites related to the majors at Mesa College.
Pathways to Science (including summer research internships)
List of Professional Societies for Biology
List of Professional Societies for Biochemistry
List of Professional Societies for Biotechnology
GIS JOB BOARDS
ASSOCIATION AND NETWORKING SITES
- The Association for GIS Professionals
- Geospatial Information & Technology Association
- Association of American Geographers
- The Society for Conservation GIS
- Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors
- GIS Career Social Networking - twitter.com/giscareers
Lists of companies that have GIS positions
Other Areas of Study
This section provides major exploration resources for majors not found at Mesa College, but have been identified by students as areas of interest. If you have recommendations for other majors and sites, please contact the Career Center.
AASHE - Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
Center of Excellence : Green for San Diego
Grist.org : environmental news and commentary with a wry twist
SCORE - Source of free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs.
City Year - City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them skills and opportunities to change the world.
Elder Help of San Diego - City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them skills and opportunities to change the world.
Idealist.org - Idealist connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.
Maximizing Access to Advance our Communities (MAAC) - to promote self-sufficiency for low and moderate income families and communities of Southern California through advocacy for, and delivery of, social, educational, housing and employment services
Nonprofitcareer.com - focus is on bringing people together - to identify the people who want to participate in the nonprofit sector and the organizations that have a need for those people
Service Nation - to inspire a powerful culture of service in America
St. Vincent de Paul Village- Neighbors Helping Neighbors in the San Diego Community
Career Collection in the LRC
The LRC Career Collection provides a wealth of books, ebooks, articles, publications, databases and DVD on almost every career topic.
Just use the Super Search Tool on the Library's home page to access the entire collection.