College 101: Picking a Major

By Dana Almasri

Tampa, Fla– The first major decision a college student needs to make is picking a major. The major and career path that you want to pursue is possible with the help and resources provided by the University of South Florida. There are just a couple of steps that you need to take.

In college, some students know exactly what major they want to pursue but “on average, college students change their major three times over the course of their college career.” And not knowing is okay.

Here are steps to take to choose a major:

  1. Self-reflection, what do you do well on?
  2. Do informational interviews on the major you are choosing
  3. Do your research
  4. Go to an advisor
  5. Go to career services

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why does the major interest me?
  2. Did I do enough research on the major?
  3. What are the classes I need to take for this major?
  4. What jobs can I get with this major?
  5. Is there someone I can talk to about this major?

When choosing your major, it is important to know what you are good at, but also know what you are passionate about. Finding the perfect mix of the two can help you choose a major that is suited for you. You can find majors offered at USF here.

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Now you can start researching. This is very important. USF will show you what career paths you can peruse with your major. Your advisor and professors will lay out what steps you need to take to get your dream job. The Office of Academic Advocacy will help you figure out what other research you need to do to make sure you pick the major that is right for you. Knowing what career path you can take with the major you have chosen, what steps you can take to get to that career path and any other research that needs to be done for the major will help guide you to the place you want to go.

During your research process try to find someone with a job that you may want to have someday and interview them. Ask them questions to learn more about the job and the major itself. Interviewing a professional will also help you make a connection and network in your field. If you cannot find someone to interview, talk to a professor, go to career services or a friend who is pursuing the same major.

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Observe some of the classes that need to be taken with the major you want to choose or have chosen. Advisors will introduce you to professors who will let you sit it on classes that you may want to take in the future. During your first or second year of college, try out some electives from different majors. Such as an English literature class, chemistry, a reporting class and more.

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Internships are a great way to know whether you are in the right field. Doing an internship will help you figure out whether you have chosen the right major or career path. For example, if your major is journalism take an internship at a newspaper and learn what people do in the real world.

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You can find internships on Handshake, LinkedInIndeed and by making an appointment with a career services counselor at USF. Handshake is an online career management service for students at USF. You can search internships and jobs for the major you have chosen. The best part about getting an internship is getting either one, two or three credit hours if the internship offers credit.

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Doing all these steps as early as possible will help you feel more confident that you picked the right major for you.

Photos in the video by:

Creative commons reporters surround Senate intelligence committee ranking member Sen. Mark Warner as he heads for a policy meeting in Washington on May 16” by Flicker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Creative Commons business office contract” by Pixabay

Creative Commons free stock photo of close-up device” by Pixels

Photos in the post by Dana Almasri