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Six tips for choosing a major

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Choosing a major can be challenging for some students because of the belief that an academic major ties you to a specific career path.  While some majors are preparatory for a particular career, for example, teaching or nursing, most other majors are not. Even those who start out in a particular career path may find that their career can change and evolve in unpredictable ways and that a major in nursing or education could eventually lead to other careers as well.

The best overall advice for choosing a major:  Choose a subject that really interests you and one in which you will do well. 

Here are some additional tips to help you decide:

1. Look at the things you love to do.   For example, are you very interested in art or have talent in this area? Then considering art or arts administration as a major may make sense for you. Likewise, if you often find yourself reading science-related articles, and loved lab during high school, you might want to consider a science major.

2. Explore what's important to you.  You'll find self assessment exercises on the Assess Who You Are page of the Career Toolkit that will help you uncover important themes.  The TypeFocus report gives you information about personality type preferences in regards to occupational fields, careers and suggested majors. The CEC also offers a College Major Scorecard assessment that can help you focus and decide on a field of study.

3. Talk to other Simmons students.  Speak with students who are pursuing majors that interest you.  You'll get honest information about what this major is like.  It's a great opportunity to learn about the classes and why others chose this major.

4. Do your homework.  Review the course requirements for a particular major. Do you need a certain GPA to apply for a major program? Are there certain prerequisites?  Does it require a practicum or field experience? Be honest about what you find out: Are you excited about taking the courses or do they seem uninteresting or too demanding for you?

5. Consider doing some career exploration.  Most employers are looking for students with transferable skills such as problem solving, written and oral communication, and critical thinking skills, rather than a specific major; however, it can be helpful to learn about career possibilities.  Check out What Can I Do With This Major?

6. Make an appointment with a career coach for advice and additional help with your decision.  A CEC career coach can help you decide what major is a good fit for you and assist you in exploring your career options.