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Career & Professional
Development Center

Important Announcements
Spring 2015 Career & College Fair

Building 38, Rm A15 | UDC Van Ness Campus
4200 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20008
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Choosing a Major

Choosing a major can be one of the toughest aspects of college. There seem to be so many choices!  This helpful guide will help you narrow the options and get you onto the path of a rewarding career — doing what you were created to do!

Five Steps to Choosing Your College Major

  1. Assess or evaluate your interests.

What are your passions?  What are you deeply interested in?  What types of things excite you? What kind of work appeals to you? Think about it and write this information down.

  1. Take an honest look at your unique strengths and abilities

What are you good at?  What are the things that you’re better than most people at?  What were your best and most enjoyable subjects in high school? What activities and clubs were especially enjoyable to you? You were created with many different innate preferences and skills – these are the ones that you should hone and refine, and so you should choose a major that uses those skills.  Think about it and write this information down.

  1. It’s all about values. 

Consider the things you value in work, such as growth, fixing things, being around people, helping the needy, working under pressure, security, counseling others, working in groups, attention to detail, making things, and many other values.  Considering what kinds of jobs can meet these values can be helpful as you consider some career options.

  1. Go explore career possibilities. 

Various online resources can show you what you can do with various majors.  Visit What Can I Do With a Degree In to help you explore the majors offered here at UDC. You can also learn more about various occupations, including future trends, by searching the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

  1. Do a feasibility check.  Ask yourself honestly: “Does the career I have in mind match who I am?”  Be realistic.  Someone may wish to become an architect, but if he or she has little skills in math (geometry) and drawing, then perhaps the person should reconsider choosing that major. Sometimes there are ways to bypass these obstacles, but be wise and then you can avoid wasting your time and money on a wrong major. 

Other Tips to Help You Choose Your Major

Be sure to:

  • Talk to upperclassmen and other classmates.  They’ve been there and done that.  You can benefit from their advice — what they’ve learned and the struggles they’ve gone through in their major. Don’t hesitate to consult them as a resource to gather more information about various majors.
  • Explore your college’s course catalog.  You might be surprised at the assortment of majors your college has to offer.
  • Talk to your academic adviser and other professors.  They will almost always be more than happy to give you some helpful advice.  They’ve been there and can tell you what their field is all about.
  • Your family and friends who know you well.  They know you best.  Be sure to filter out any unreasonable or bad advice, but be sure to listen.  They often have a lot of insights into who you are and what you are good at.
  • Visit UDC’s Career and Professional Development Center. The Center has career assessments that can help you identify a career path.  Please visit the Contact a Career Counselor form to schedule an appointment.