Choosing a Major or Career

 

There are different ways to go about choosing a major or career. Use one or more of the approaches below based on your preferred learning and decision-making styles. 

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3 Ways to Choose Your Major or Career
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Read about it

Learn about your options

It is ideal to be informed about your options. The following online resources can assist you with learning about different majors and careers. 

Majors

Some degrees may be a better fit for you, but there is no one "right" choice. You will want to choose a degree(s) that best supports your goals, but your degree alone will not define your career or job prospects. 

Careers

The world of work is quickly evolving and your adaptability will play a huge role in your success.  Consider two or three paths you might pursue after Mason.   

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Talk it out

 

Ask others who have been there

Getting information and advice from a variety of individuals is a great way to help you make decisions about a major or career. If you’re nervous about reaching out to people, start with members of the Mason community. Download this helpful list of possible questions and people to ask.

 

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Try it out

Test your options

Trying things out is one of the most effective ways to decide if you truly like something, are good at it, and want to pursue it. Here are some ways to test out your academic and career interests:

  • Coursework: exposure to the subject matter and skills needed for various careers
  • Micro-internships: short-term, project-based experiences often completed remotely
  • Internships: applied learning that occurs in a professional work setting (in-person or remotely)
  • Volunteering: low-commitment, flexible way to explore mission-driven organizations or causes
  • Organizations: student chapters of professional associations offer low-cost or no-cost memberships that connect you with employers, mentors, and professional development opportunities like conferences
  • Part-time jobs: paid, short-term option to get actual work experience in a field you are considering

For recommendations about experiences related to your career interests, visit our Industry-specific resource pages.

Get more

Complete the activities on pages 17-34 of the Career Readiness Guide to generate ideas and to help with your decision-making.  

Make an appointment

Meet with a career counselor to discuss all the information you've gathered and answer any remaining questions, so you can make a choice.

During your appointment, you'll identify your strengths and interests and apply those to choosing a major and/or career path. You might even take a “career test” to help you identify potential careers for consideration.  

Questions you might ask during your appointment include:  

  • How do my interests translate into a career?  
  • What majors are related to my interests?    
  • What industries or career fields are a good fit for me?  
  • What will I be able to do with my major?   
  • How do I get started?   
  • What do I want the most in a career?  
  • What is keeping me from deciding on a career?  
  • How do I prepare to reach my goal(s)?  
  • How do I translate skills from my past experiences to my new goals?   

Note: While career “tests” or assessments will not tell you what to be, they can help you learn more about yourself and identify potential majors and careers. University Career Services offers free, online career assessments on personality, interests, skills, and strengths for current Mason students.