Career/Major Choice

Choosing a career and academic program can sometimes be an intimidating process.  What if I pursue something I end up not liking, or am not good at?  How do I know where the jobs will be four or five years from now?  Will what I study today determine who I will be when I’m 40 or 50 years old? 

Career planning and decision-making are ongoing and often require re-evaluation through your career.  That said, deciding on and committing to a program of study sooner, as opposed to later, is key to timely graduation and a fulfilling college experience.  The following steps have been designed to assist you in making an informed decision regarding career and program choice. 

Step 1: Self Assessment

Before deciding on either a career or major, you should probably start with an assessment of your interests and abilities.  What are you passionate about?  What would you prefer not having to do?  What are your values and how do you see these shaping your character; defining your career path; or enhancing or supporting important relationships?  Where do positions of employment seem readily available, both in terms of industry and geographic location?  Where does gaining a position seem to be highly competitive?  Are the income projections for the career you are thinking about enough to support you and possibly a family?  By taking a few steps back and reflecting on questions like these you will be able to make intelligent career and major decisions consistent with your own unique characteristics, interests and goals.

Questions to answer:

  • What are my skills?
  • What are my interests?
  • What are my work values?
  • What motivates me?
  • How does my personality impact my work style?
  • How are my grades in my current major?

For assistance in your own exploration of a possible career options, schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor (909) 869-2342 or visit our website.

Step 2: Identify Major/Career Options

Next you will want to find programs of study that might lead to a short list of potential career paths.  While some careers require that you settle on a specific field of study, others might allow for you to choose from any number of majors so long as you develop and maintain a foundation of knowledge that is most commonly measured by grades earned.  This is when you will want to further explore the occupational outlook.  Does this career choice require that you earn an advanced degree or licensure/credential?  Are there aspects of a particular career that you have an aversion to (example: John is fascinated with anything related to the life sciences, and wants to help people.  He initially chooses medicine as his career path, but then when shadowing a doctor realizes he suffers from Hematophobia, a fear of blood.) 

Traits and Factors in Choosing a Program or Study and Possible Career Path

Things to do...

  • Research majors and careers that “fit” your self assessment.
  • Identify potential career paths and starting points.
  • Talk with professionals in the field(s) you are interest in.
  • Begin to “target” specific companies you might be interested in, and consider an internship.
  • Look at career options in majors you are considering.
Step 3: Meet with an Advisor or Two

Next, you will want to meet with advisors in the departments you are considering. This will help you become not only oriented to program requirements, but also help you obtain needed information regarding the career you are thinking about pursuing.

Things to do...

  • Review with the advisors your Degree Progress Report (found in BroncoDirect) and the “roadmap” for the major you are considering.
  • Explore co-curricular opportunities related to the major (honor societies, internships, research, etc.)
  • Discuss with the advisor how a minor program of study might satisfy other interests you have or make you more marketable in the career you are considering.  Ask if this is feasible.
  • Develop an individual study plan to complete degree requirements.
  • Discuss with the advisor your academic progress to date and any academic difficulties you have experienced.
Step 4: Talk to Department of Interest

When you have a clear understanding of your interests, abilities and career prospects… when you have explored various options and spoken with an advisor to determine the best unique path for you, and what it will take to earn a specific degree, then and only then will it be time for you to commit to adding or changing a major.

Things to do...

  • Schedule an appointment with the chair of the department you want to add or change into.
  • Complete a Petition to Change Major Curriculum, and enter any “option” or “subplan” information needed for the particular program you would like to enter (if you do not know this, see the department chair or advisor).
  • Securing the chairs signature on the petition form and submit this to the Registrar’s Office.
  • Review departmental resources, including possible department-based learning support, the phone numbers for both the advisor and administrative assistant, and the names of people involved in a department affiliated honor societies.
Step 5: Continue to Research your Field of Choice

Now that you have settled on a major and a career path, you will want to continue to educate yourself and stay current with what’s happening in your field. What are the new and emerging areas of study? Who are the important players in your industry? Who are the employers you would most like to work for?

Things to do…

  • Seek out leadership roles in student organizations that are affiliated with our choice of major or career goals
  • Read trade journals
  • Secure an internship in a related field
  • Assist in faculty led research in the areas you have an interest

Ask Billy

Ask Billy


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