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Choosing a Major

Choosing a Major

Whether you are an undeclared student or you feel like the major that you have chosen is not the right one for you, Career Services can help to steer you in the right direction. Here are some things to consider while you wait for your appointment, or if you decide to go it alone:

A simple way to think about choosing a major, and a typical starting point that you and your counselor will use, employs the formula:

INTERESTS + ABILITIES = MAJOR

Let's explore them in turn.

Subjects that Interest You

Do what interests you! This may seem pretty obvious, but sometimes the most obvious things go unrecognized. To help you identify some of these subjects look to the following clues:

  • What college courses have been enjoyable?
  • Which high school subjects were the most pleasant?
  • What extracurricular activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
  • Toward what reading material do you gravitate? For example, do you find yourself immersed in health and fitness topics? Articles of a political nature? Self-help books? Historical fiction?

Things You're Good At (Abilities)

When selecting a major it is important to choose something in which you can do well. For many of us, there is an overlap between the subjects that interest us and the subjects we are good at. Having this overlap can make your decision easier.

C.W. Post Degree Programs

A good exercise to familiarize yourself with the more than 100 majors at C.W. Post is to read through the Academics section of the C.W. Post Web site. This publication lists all of the possible majors, provides a description of the major, and lists the courses that you will be expected to take. Many students can narrow down a list just by reviewing the Table of Contents. Once you have narrowed your list, read the major description and the course descriptions. You will definitely get an idea if that major is approachable or one you should avoid. The counselors in Academic and Career Counseling can speak to you individually about your potential major choices.

INTERESTS + ABILITIES = CAREER

Possibly the easiest way to approach the choice of a major is to decide on a career path and work backwards. When you collect a list of interests and a list of current abilities, try to combine them into a career goal. For instance, someone who likes math and has good analytical skills may want to consider a major in accounting , or someone who enjoys physical education and likes to interact with children may want to major in education with a concentration in physical education. You can also try the site “What Can I Do With This Major?” to see what typical jobs people get after their degree in that major.

Values

Values are those beliefs and ideas that you find important and that guide your behaviors. Your values can be added to the Interests + Abilities equation to help sift through a list of potential careers or majors. Each career path will satisfy or not satisfy your particular values. Values are sometimes the most difficult to assess in oneself but also the most important factor in career or major choice.

What if I am really stuck?!

If, like many students, you are still unsure about your major or career direction, we recommend making an appointment to see an Academic and Career Counselor located on the 2nd floor of Kumble Hall. Our counselors will explore different majors and career options with you. Call us at 516-299-2746 for an appointment.