If you are undecided about your major, you are not alone. About a third of students begin college without having chosen a major, and of those who do begin college with a declared major, 60-70 percent change it at least once before they graduate. You are encouraged to spend your first few terms, especially if you are a freshman, learning more about yourself and exploring different academic options. One way to do this is by taking a variety of courses that seem interesting to you.
USD now offers students pathways to declaring a major through Exploratory Tracks. With these tracks, you can experience a variety of courses and complete your general education requirements while you consider major options.
Selecting a major is a process which begins with self-assessment, proceeds with exploration of various majors and careers and concludes with declaring a major that you find to be a good fit. The Academic and Career Planning Center offers a variety of assessments and resources designed to assist students with the exploration process.
Interest Assessment - Take an assessment that can help you discover your interests, preferences, and personal style and compare those to individuals in a variety of occupations. This can help you identify new options for further investigation.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - Designed to help you identify your natural personal preferences and provides insight into qualities such as how you make decisions, interact with other people, gather information and get energized. The MBTI will help you to better understand yourself and your motivations, strengths and areas for further development. The assessment is free to students and is available at our office.
StrengthsFinder - Identify your talents and learn how to capitalize on them. The assessment is free and is available by contacting Heather in the Academic & Career Planning Center.
Decision Making Exercises - Career decision making often involves competing alternatives. You can make effective decisions if you understand the advantages and disadvantages of your options. A career advisor can discuss your options with you and suggest activities to confirm that a career or major is a good fit for you. Students are highly encouraged to complete activities designed to “test out” their major and chosen career path such as job shadowing experiences, informational interviews, internships, volunteerism, student activities, etc. The advisors at ACPC can help you to identify and become involved in these opportunities.
A&S 101 - This course is designed for students who want to further explore various academic majors and/or occupations. Through self-assessment, students will be provided with a greater understanding of how their personal characteristics, interests, values, and skills influence career development, and will have the opportunity to explore a variety of options. In addition, students will gain an increased understanding of how to use a variety of career resources, will explore the link between liberal learning and employer needs and will establish career goals and develop a plan for achieving them.
Job Shadowing - Job shadowing is a great way for students to learn more about a particular field of work by seeing it “up close and personal.” Most experiences involve spending a full day or part of a day with an individual at his or her place of work, observing what a typical day is like. Shadows also give students an opportunity to ask specific questions they may have about a particular field of work, and may help them expand their professional network of contacts. Shadows are particularly useful for first-year and sophomore students who are undecided about their major or potential career options. If you are interested in conducting a job shadow, please meet with a career advisor.
Informational Interviews - An informational interview is a visit with a professional in a field of interest to you. The goal of the informational interview is to network, gain first-hand information on the industry and to obtain valuable career planning advice that helps you increase your qualifications or credentials. Stop into the Academic & Career Planning Center for more information on setting up an informational interview.