Undecided / Undeclared Students
What’s Your Major?
Don’t have an answer to that question yet? The Career Planning and Counseling Center is here to help you! We understand that being undeclared can be uncomfortable and frustrating.
- Did you know that close to 50% of incoming freshman are undeclared?
- Did you also know that students on average change their major about 5 times while they are in school?
Congratulations on taking steps to figuring out your major! What is the first question that people ask you when you tell them you are in college? It’s usually, “What is your major?” Undeclared students often dread this question because they feel like they don’t have an answer.
We like to refer to undeclared students as Exploratory Students. Exploratory Students are actively working towards choosing the best major for them.
Students who take the time to explore and understand their own interests and understand what majors and careers are available to them usually choose a major that they are happy with sooner.
As you start your journey of career exploration, it may be helpful to break it down into these five steps:
- Develop a Positive Attitude: A positive outlook energizes your exploration, allows you to try new things, helps you to overcome obstacles and increases your belief in yourself. Conversely, a negative outlook can discourage you, creating an internal barrier that holds you back from exploring your full potential. Keys to building a positive attitude include:
- Emotional intelligence
- Self esteem
- Self-Assessment and Exploration: In order to find careers that suit you, you need to get as much information as you can about your needs and personal qualities. This is called "self-assessment". These are some of most important areas that you will want to clarify:
- Research Careers: To learn what careers might fit you, you have to know what your options are. Some important things to know about an occupation might be the necessary training, the salary, the duties, and the outlook for the future. The Career Planning & Counseling Center offers a wealth of resources to get information about occupations including books, computer references, CD-ROMs, vocational biographies. We can also help you do an informational interview, where you have a chance talk to people, in occupations that interest you, about their work.
- Make a Decision: Do you sometimes freeze up when you have to make a big a decision? Do you decide in haste, just to get the process over with? These are some of the common problems people face in making career decisions. Come to the Career Center to learn about the activities that can help with these and other issues in decision-making.
- Create an Action Plan: Even though the other steps in career exploration are important, that last step, making a plan to make our dream become a reality, is all-important. Where can you get training to start your new career? How can you get funding to start the small business you always wanted to have? What is a part-time job you can get now that will help you move towards your long-term goal? These are the kinds of questions that your action plan will address. The Career Center has resources, including the computerized career software Discover, to help you with your action plans. The Advising and Transfer Center is also a good source of information about educational programs.
So, how do Exploratory Students get through these steps?
By using their resources and taking an active role in exploring their options! Click here to read more about getting started in your exploration!