Choosing a Major
Are you unsure about what you want to major in? Or do you have a major, but are not certain if it is the right choice for you? You are not alone in feeling unclear about this important decision; half of all incoming freshmen aren't sure either! You are not expected to make this decision during your first year on campus, however it is important to plan and organize in order to facilitate the process and make it easier for you later on in your college career.
With so many possibilities available and a lifetime of work ahead, the Career Development Center encourages all students to invest time in planning their academic and career success. The Career Development Center recommends students start the career planning process during their freshmen year.
Some suggestions to get you started:
- Schedule an appointment with our career advisors by calling 561-297-3533 and/or by coming in during Same-Day Career Advising M - Th 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
- Attend the annual FAU Carnival of Majors Fair (every March, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Student Union Senate)
- Attend the “Choosing a Major” workshop- view the Calendar of Events for time and date of the workshop.
- Visit the Career Resource Library (SU220) for information about various majors and related careers. Books such as College Majors and Careers, Occupational Outlook Handbook and Dictionary of Occupational Titles are very helpful
- Review the FAU catalog online!
- Conduct informational interviews with professors, advisors, professional and alumni- review the CDC’s Informational Interview Guide and Professional Mentor Program available on OWL CareerLink (formerly Interfase)
- SLS 1301: Career & Life Planning – 1 credit course offered fall and spring semester
"An interest inventory will tell me what I should do"
- Fact: Interest inventories are pretty good at measuring interests. However, the career decision-maker also needs to consider abilities, values, experiences, and any number of practical considerations (expenses, opportunities, training requirements, family issues, geographical location, etc.). An interest inventory may assist you in a thorough career decision-making process - but alone it is rarely sufficient.
"Indecision is abnormal"
- Fact: Indecision is normal. Different people take different amounts of time to make career decisions. Indecision is only a problem when you choose to do nothing about it. If you are engaging in a number of “career exploratory activities” you are on the right track!
“I need to decide on a career today”
- Fact: This is the myth perpetuated by those who think that a career decision-making is an event rather than a process. Making a decision prematurely, or based on inaccurate or insufficient information, is invariably a mistake. Even if it means changing your academic plans, give yourself the time necessary to make an intelligent and unrushed career plan.
“Successful people always know exactly what they are going to do in the future”
- Fact: There is no relationship between the time in life one makes a career decision, and one’s ultimate success and happiness in that career. Some know early, others know later in life. Many “successful” people switch careers numerous times before settling on the one that’s right for them. If there is one quality successful people seem to have, it is perseverance.
“A college degree assures me a great career”
- Fact: All a college degree assures you of is a college degree. However, a college degree combined with good career planning, experience, and preparation greatly increases your chance of obtaining a rewarding career.
“Once I choose a career I’m stuck with it for life”
- Fact: The average adult doesn’t settle on a career until sometime in their 30’s. Your interest, values, abilities, and aspirations may be different at ages 20, 30, 40, and beyond. If so, you’ll change and modify your career accordingly. Changing careers is only a problem if you think it is a problem.
“My career must please my parents, friends, neighbors, etc.”
- Fact: The approval of others is nice, but it is not essential to your career well being. If others care about you, they’ll probably be delighted if your career brings you happiness and fulfillment. It’s unfortunate if others aren’t pleased with what you’re doing, but ultimately it's your decision.
“All my needs can be met in the workplace”
- Fact: You have other needs that can be fulfilled through vocational activities - social, familial, recreational, spiritual, political, cultural, and so forth. You will never find a career that will meet all your needs, but you can spend a lifetime unsuccessfully looking for one.