Monday, November 19, 2012

Four things you can do right now to help you choose your major

The most popular question I get in my inbox is: 

I don't know what I want to do with my life. How do I choose a major? 

There is a lot you can do, but today I wanted to share the top four things I tell students who e-mail me to do right away. I hope they help you too!

1. Visit Your Career Center: Drop everything right now, go on your college's website, and search for the career center. Find out what they offer, if you need to make an appointment with a career counselor or can just walk in, and then take advantage of every single resource they offer. At my career center, I took multiple assessments and read books that helped me understand what I was good at and what kinds of careers aligned with my values and passions. I then was able to talk to a career counselor to help me figure out how all of that fit into a major. 

2. Take the Free Major Assessment: These assessments are not prescriptive, but when you're feeling lost, they are a great way to get you started in any direction.

3. Take the Free Myers-Briggs Assessment: This is my favorite personality test. At my community college we learned about this in a leadership retreat and in College Success class, and the things I learned about myself still help me to this day, including guiding my work. Once you get the four-letter-code that best matches you, just Google it with words like "career" or "majors" and see what happens. You can also Google it with "celebrities" which can be kind of fun. 

4. Check Out InsideJobs is my favorite interface for learning more about current careers (you can se the interview I did with one of their employees, Annie, here!) My favorite thing they do is organize jobs into categories like exploring jobs for "Creative Types," "Social Media Ninjas," and "Law and Order Fans." Check it out to find your favorite and explore jobs you might like!

The most important thing to consider about your major is if you love the core classes (which you take in the last two years, and can be found in the college catalog of the 4-year university where you want to attend). If you love the core classes, then you are in a good place. Keep searching until you find something you really love to learn. The rest will fall into place as you continue to work hard every day and grow your skills. 

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