We are so glad you're starting your bachelor's degree with us! Whether you're at a community college or a university, your first  few years involves exploring, selecting and ultimately preparing for a major. Academically preparing for your major is STRONGLY encouraged at WCC. It helps strengthen your application to a university, maximizes your time and money, and hopefully keeps you on track to timely graduation. 

Your major doesn't necessarily equal your career! It might, but there's a good chance it won't. Some jobs require specific education and training (e.g. if you want to be an accountant, you'll probably major in accounting), but the vast majority of majors will prepare you for a wide range of jobs and give you the chance to develop skills employers are looking for including writing/research skills, strong interpersonal communication skills, and the ability to think creatively and problem solve.

We have broken down this process of selecting a major into four steps. You may find it helpful to write down your answers to the questions below, and we hope you check in with an advisor before step 4!

 

1. Get to know yourself

Ask yourself the following: What is important to me? What do I want my life after college to look like? What kind of future do I envision? Where will I live? Who will I share my time and energy with? What will I do for fun? What are my skills and strengths? What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? What do I not like? What relationships and community are important to me?

Now what about career-related self-reflection? What is important to me in a job (e.g. tasks, pay, environment, schedule, benefits, etc.)? What kind of career would make me happy and fulfilled? What kind of income do I need to support the lifestyle I want? How important is that to me? What kind of jobs would be a good match for my personality, strengths and passion? What kind of tasks do I enjoy? Be specific! Do you enjoy writing, crunching numbers, building things, caring for people or animals, creating art, or working with computers? What kind of environment would I like to work in (e.g. outside, at a computer, working closely with other people, interacting with animals or nature)?

  • How do I answer these questions?

2. Let's talk careers

You should now have a list of careers you are interested in. Let's learn more about these specific careers and select an academic major to give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in your chosen field.

Ask yourself the following: What kind of degree/education is needed? Do I need a degree at all? What would I spend most of my time doing? How competitive is the job market? Where are these careers? Will I need to move? Does the job require travel? If so, how much? Is that ok with me? What can I do to make myself stand out?

  • How do I answer these questions?

3. Planning your education

Ask yourself the following: What majors are available at my intended university? What majors am I interested in? What are their requirements? Are these majors a good fit for me? Do they match well with my interests and skills? Does my intended career require a specific degree/training? Do I need evening,weekend or online classes?

  • How do I answer these questions?

4. Create an action plan

Synthesize and reflect: What did you learn? Are you ready to make a decision?

  • How will you make it?

 

Partially adapted from “Advising Major Changers: Students in transition” by Gordon & Steele in NACADA Journal 12(1).