7 Things to Consider When Picking a Major

Don’t rush it.

With a few exceptions there is no rush to jump into a major without some exploration. By taking lots of classes in lots of fields, you can narrow down what it is that you are truly interested in. For those other majors that require a number of prerequisites like Engineering, Pathobiology, Dietetics/Nutritional Sciences, Animal Science, and some of the hard sciences, it can be a bit costly if you put off starting those majors early in your academic career.

Determine your options.

With close to 200 majors and minors available at UConn you have a lot of options. Try to identify all of the majors that interest you and explore the department website and view the curriculum before you declare. You don’t want any surprises senior year when you find out that the major wasn’t exactly what you had imagined it would be.

Pick something you want to learn about.

There’s nothing wrong with learning about things that interest you. You are more likely to maintain a higher GPA, retain more information, and find a career that you will thrive in.

Meet with advisors in a few departments.

As you start to narrow down your choices to a few majors, consider meeting with advisors in those majors to learn more about the major, career options within that major, and to get a better understanding of the content of the required coursework.

Explore some careers first.

Find out what industries support your interests and then explore some companies within those industries. The first job you get when you graduate college will not be your last job but will help to build those experiences to get you to your next opportunity. Being aware of what people do for work can help with your decisions when it comes to choosing what to learn about.

Choose a major to support your career interests.

Although the name of your major matters less than the experiences you gain as a student, it can be helpful to identify some industries or companies that you hope to someday work for and find out what they look for in a candidate. By examining job postings and doing a little light research, you can determine what (if any) major is desired and what other types of experiences can prepare you to be competitive in the job market.

Ask questions.

Identify recent graduates utilizing the LinkedIn Alumni Tool and find out what they are doing with their major, examine their career path, and start building connections now. Talk to employers at career fairs and info sessions and ask about desirable majors- you may be surprised at what you hear.

By Eran Peterson
Eran Peterson Assistant Director, Career Coaching and Counseling Eran Peterson