How do you choose a major? Besides attending one of our workshops, here are some tips to get you started. Remember, choosing a major usually does not happen over night. Give yourself time to make an informed decision. For more information or guidance, call 604-513-2017 to book an appointment.
- Gather Information About Majors and Careers
- Reality Check
- Narrow Choices and Take Action
The first step in choosing a major or a career path is learning more about who you are. Knowing more about yourself goes a long way into knowing what major you find most attractive. So, let's take a closer look at 4 main facets of self exploration--Personality, Interests, Skills, and Values.
Stop for a moment and think about "your personality". Then think about (or even write down) the answer to some of these questions as you consider your PERSONALITY
- How would you describe your own "personality"?
- How would your family, friends, or professors describe your personality?
- After interacting with others, do you feel energized or do you need time alone to recharge your batteries?
- When you make decisions, do you consider how others will feel or do you maintain objectivity?
- Do you prefer to think of the reality or the possibility?
- Are you orderly and structured or flexible and spontaneous?
B) INTERESTS (what you enjoy)
Pause again and think about all the things you like and are interested in. Now, think and/or write down some of the answers to the questions as you consider your INTERESTS
- What do you enjoy reading, studying, talking about, or watching on TV?
- What hobbies do you pursue?
- How do you spend your free time?
- What did you want to be when you were a very young child, as far back as you can remember?
- Do you notice any themes about the various jobs, occupations or roles you thought of when you were younger?
- Scenario: If ALL the occupations in the world paid you $20/hour (whether it be a prime minister, president, doctor, teacher, NHL player, celebrity, supermodel, janitor, garbage person, artist, dishwasher, etc.), you were free from expectations and you received free training, what 1 or 2 occupations would you want to do? If you don't know the name of the job, how would you describe it?
- What themes do you notice between this job and all the others things you like to do, if any?
C) Skills (natural ability to quickly master a particular task; aptitudes)
Now, ponder the things you are skilled at.
- What classes have you always done well in?
- What are your talents?
- In what areas have you received awards or recognition?
- What would your parents or family members say you're good at?
- What would your friends say you're good at? Can you think of a time when somebody might have commended you or recognized a skill of yours? Perhaps they told you something like, "You're pretty good at that!"?
D) VALUES (personal standards that you feel to be extremely important)
Continue to reflect, as you consider your key values
- What kind of lifestyle do you desire?
- Identify and name your top 10 values. A simple Google search of "Personal values" can give you some examples. What values would you put first? Last?
- What must you achieve in life to bring fulfillment?
~APPLICATION: Would you like to learn more about your Personality, Values, Skills and Interests?
If you would like additional guided exploration of these facets, and see how they might relate to career options, the Career Development Office offers many options.
- Elevations Assessment -$25 (explore your personality, values, skills, and interests)
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator-$30 (explore your personality in greater detail)
- Strong's Interest Inventory -$30 (explore your interests in more greater detail)
- TypeFocus- ~Free~ (explore your personality with some detail)
- Calling Cards Sort - ~Free~ (explore your values and personal 'mission')
- Ask family, friends, teachers, and other people who know you
There are 2 approaches to this step...See if you can notice the difference.
- Select several majors that are interesting to you
- Find out which career possibilities would be open to you with that major
Consider the following questions:
- Does the major match your interests, values, and abilities?
- What kind of classes will you have to take in the major?
- What is the length and structure of the major?
- What are the career opportunities for someone with this degree?
- Read about majors in the TWU academic calendar
- Take an Intro course in majors that interest you
- Check a Major's departmental Website for information about a major
- Email or talk to a professor who teaches in the major that interests you (e.g. if you interested in Education, why not find a professor in Education whom you can talk to? A given major's departmental website should list a faculty contact you can consult)
- Check out what different various occupations possible with a given major
- Think of and find a career you would enjoy
- Determine the most appropriate major to prepare you for that career
Consider the following questions:
- What are the daily activities of someone in this career?
- What are the skills needed to be successful in this field?
- What is the availability of jobs with this career choice?
- What majors would best prepare you for this career?
Application: Would you like to learn more about Careers?
- Talk to a career professional already working that field
- Volunteer - www.volunteer.ca; www.volunteervancouver.ca; www.govolunteer.ca
- Look into extra-curricular activities on campus - e.g. www.twu.ca/life for Student Leader opportunities
- Career Cruising (www.careercruising.com), a powerful website that profiles hundreds of occupations and provides comprehensive information about jobs and education.
Learn about occupations and explore the world of work. There may be something out there that you have never considered. Here are some useful links for you:
- Career Cruising(Contact Career Development Office for Username and Password)
- Check out TWU majors
- “What can I do with a major in...?”
- What do I do with a graduate degree in...?
STEP 3: REALITY CHECK
ORGANIZE AND PRIORITIZE THE INFORMATION
- Organize the information you have collected about yourself, majors, and careers in a way that will allow you to compare your options
- Weigh pros and cons
- Consider feasibility of a second major or minor (e.g. Is this practical for me? Can I handle the courseload?)
- HONESTLY EVALUATE YOUR OPTIONS
STEP 4: NARROW CHOICES AND TAKE ACTION
Go for it! Declare your new major at the Advising Office.
- Take courses in majors you are considering
- Eliminate options that don't fit with your interests, values, and skills
- Be involved in activities that help you develop your skills in areas that interest you
- Go to the department of the program that you are interested in and ask them for information, checklists, etc.
- To declare/change a major - you can also go to Enrollment Services in Mattson Centre
FINAL THOUGHTS TO REMEMBER:
- This process takes some time. No need to rush...
- Majors and careers are NOT always directly related. Employers often hire someone based on skills they possess, not on the major they studied in college
- It's understandable to be tempted to feel "trapped" by any decision you make. But you can feel free to change your career or major if you are unhappy with it. In fact, statistics of university and college students in North America report that students change their majors an average of 3 times over the course of their undergraduate schooling!
- Some interests make better hobbies than careers...
- ...At the same time, some hobbies can be turned into careers.
- Think carefully, talk to parents, professors, people you know in the career, and pray for discernment
- Have courage!
What Careers Can I Get with My Degree?
Check out Florida International University's website for ideas of what you can do with your major!
For more details about careers, you can also check out Career Cruising. Contact us for the user name and password.
A PRAYER TO ENCOURAGE YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY:
~My LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust You always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
~Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
Abbey of Gethsemani