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How to Choose a Major

One of the toughest decisions college students face is choosing a major. Nobody ever said choosing a major would be easy. It takes a great deal of time and hard work to make a decision this important. Use the guide below to help organize your decision process. 

RESEARCH

One step in the exploration process is research – this step is all about gathering as much information you can. Research will help you become aware of all of your major & career options and how they connect. The activities & resources below can assist you in this step.

List of Undergraduate Majors

Print out the list of undergraduate majors and cross off the ones you know you are not interested in pursuing. If you do not know what a major is, do not cross it off!

Take pride in knowing you have accomplished something by narrowing down the list of options, even if it is only by a little bit.

Majors, Minors & More

Explore the MAJORS, MINOR & MORE webpage at UWO. This is an interactive webpage that will allow you to filter majors by types of degree or program and then directly connects you to the department website.

Explore E-Bulletins

Use E-Bulletins to explore majors.

Look up the courses that you would be required to take for your desired major. 

Read the course descriptions to see if the content of each course in the major interests you. If you like the courses, keep exploring the major. If not, move on to a different area.

What Can I Do With A Major In...?

Visit the “What Can I Do With This Major” web page and click on the BLUE – What Can I do With this Major website for a full catalog of majors.

Once you see the ENTIRE LIST of majors, click on the major of interest to find an outline of common career areas, typical employers, and strategies designed to maximize career opportunities.

Additional Links are at the bottom of each major page as well that provide more information about majors and related careers.

Other Online Exploration Resources

All Allied Health Schools:

Career Exploration Tools and Resources; Live Career:

Colleges & Careers; The Princeton Review:

Explore Health Careers:

Live Career:

Majors & Careers Central; CollegeBoard.com:

My Majors:

  • Link: http://www.mymajors.com/
  • Major Information Pages link has good information about a variety of majors including; description of the field, specializations within the field, kinds of students who major in the field, courses these majors take, etc.

Occupational Information Network:

  • Link: http://online.onetcenter.org/
  • Contains a Skills Search activity that allows students to identify their skills and match to potential occupations.

Occupational Outlook Handbook:

  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) provides valuable assistance to help you make a decision on a future career.  The OOH provides information on:
    • the training and education needed
    • earnings
    • expected job prospects
    • what workers do on the job
    • working conditions

O*NET:

  • O*NET OnLine provides occupational information, such as interests, skills and values related to an occupation and characteristics of workers and their occupations.

Project Career:

CONNECT

Now it is time to take action and connect with someone. Connecting with someone will help with processing the information you gathered while researching. You will get the most out of these activities and resources listed below (especially talking with your academic advisor) if you have completed some research.

Talk with an Academic Advisor

Located in the Student Success Center, Suite 202, the UARC has a staff of full-time, professional academic advisors who can assist you with:

  • major exploration
  • goal setting
  • course selection
  • graduation requirements
  • policies and procedures

The office is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call (920) 424-1268 to schedule an appointment.

Talk with Faculty in a Major of Interest

Faculty teach because they have a passion for a specific subject and they want to tell you all about it. Using the Department website for your major(s) of interest, look up a faculty email address and reach out to them. Ask them if they would have time to meet and talk about their department and share information about the majors they offer.

Talk with Students Already Declared in the Major

There is a reason these students chose this particular major. Find out what it is! What do they enjoy about the major?  What are they hoping to do in the future after graduation? Get the insider’s view of a potential major from your peers.

Ask a faculty member in your area of interest during your meeting with them or email the Department and ask to be connected with a current student in that major!

Connect with Career & Professional Development

Career & Professional Development is not just for Seniors! They can help you learn what career options are associated with the majors that interest you.  Career & Professional Development can connect you with people in those fields for informational interviews and job shadowing experiences.

To make an appointment with a Career Advisor call (920)424-2181 or stop in the Student Success Center, Suite 125.

Take Advantage of Career Counseling

The Counseling Center, located in the Student Success Center, Suite 240, offers an array of services for deciding students including one-on-one counseling, a variety of in-depth career and self  exploration and a career library which contains numerous books, computer programs and other resources students can use to collect information about thousands of careers. To make an appointment with a Career Counselor call (920) 424-2061.

EXPERIENCE

Another way to explore majors is to experience them. There are many ways you can experience majors without having to change your major. Below are a list of activities that allow you to explore your areas of interest in more depth.

Take Introductory Courses

Use E-bulletins to explore the introductory courses suggested for your desired major. Look over the list of General Education Courses for some other introductory courses that look interesting and may lead you to a potential major.

Take Professional Counseling 201 (PC 201)

The UARC + Career & Professional Development offer PC 201 – Academic and Career Exploration. This is a 1 credit course that guides you through the exploration process. You will learn how to match personal interests and expectations with satisfying academic and career options. As well as complete exploration assessments, research academic and career alternatives, and make decisions based on timely and factual information.

Conduct an Informational Interview

Learn more about potential careers. Make a professional contact in your field. Practice your interviewing skills.  Informational interviews can be rich and dynamic sources of career information.

Join a Student Club

Most majors and departments have student organizations (clubs) to join that are related to their major(s) or associated with career. Check out the Student Club Directory and find one that would be of interest. Attend a meeting and see what you think!

Participate in a Job Shadow

Connect with Career & Professional Development to help set up a job shadow experience. There are also some great options to do a virtual job shadow as well through Candid Career.

Work Experience

A great way to explore an area of interest would be to gain work experience in that field. There are a lot of opportunities at entry level positions to gain work experience before you graduate. Testing out a specific work environment is another option for exploring majors & careers. Take a look at the job postings on Handshake and see what sounds interesting!

If you want further information for exploring, check out this site – https://uwosh.edu/career/majors-and-careers/career-exploration/

How to Declare a Major

*To declare a major, call the UARC at (920) 424-1268 or stop by the Student Success Center – Suite 202, and a PAL will assist you!

 

UARC

Student Success Center, Suite 202
750 Elmwood Ave.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

 

 

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Updated: 9/15/2022

 

 

Contact Us

Phone: (920) 424-1268
Email: advising@uwosh.edu
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.