Choosing a Major

REMEMBER...

  • Your major does not equal your career.
  • It’s common to enter college without knowing your major yet, and it’s likely you will change your major at least once.
  • Choosing a major is just a starting point – not a final destination. Think of your major as unlocking a number of opportunities rather than locking you into one career.
  • Using the resources and services in the following sections can help reduce some of the stress of choosing a major.  

Choosing a major can be overwhelming and feel like you’re making a huge commitment.  Figuring out which path you want to take can take some time, but doing some simple research and learning a little more about yourself is a good place to start.

  • Begin by researching possible majors and careers. Check out a list of UNA’s majors and rule out the options you’re not interested in.  Circle the majors you’d like to learn more about.
  • Next, use the resources on UNA’s Career Center website to learn more about the majors you think you may be interested in. What Can I Do With This Major, Candid Career and Bureau of Labor Statistics are great starting places.
  • The Career Center offers assessments to help you learn more about your strengths, interests and values. Remember to make an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your results.
  • Make an appointment to talk with a career counselor about your career concerns. Contact the Career Center at 256.765.4276 to make an appointment.
  • Informational Interviews – asking other people about their jobs and/or majors – are a great way to get some information about possible career paths.
  • Job Shadowing gives you an opportunity to experience the environment of a job and see what the job is like first-hand.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few majors, it’s helpful to find out more about the majors and possible career options     

  •  Use What Can I Do With This Major, Candid Career and Bureau of Labor Statistics to discover more about career possibilities.       
  • If you’ve narrowed it down to just a couple of majors, it can be helpful to make an appointment with an advisor in those academic departments to find out more about options and requirements.
  • Review the UNA Undergraduate Catalog and get an idea for the courses you would be taking for those majors. Noticing if you’d be excited about the coursework can be a good indicator of whether or not you would enjoy the major.
  • Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing are good options to use at this point as well.
  • Meet with a career counselor to talk through your options, if needed. Make an appointment with us by calling 256.765.4276.

You’ve chosen a major! Congrats!  Now it’s time to figure out what possibilities are available to you with your choice.  Remember, your major does not equal your career.  This means that most majors open up numerous career options, but it’s wise to begin thinking about the direction you want to move toward so that you can begin preparing while you’re in college. 

  • Start with What Can I Do With This Major? on the UNA Career Center website.
  • Talk with faculty members, advisors, and other students who are in the major department.
  • Check out the major department’s page on una.edu. 
  • Visit Candid Career through the Career Center website and search for videos by major.
  • If you have a career in mind, look it up on The Bureau of Labor Statistics to find information for how to prepare or what education is required.
  • Conduct Informational Interviews with people you know to find out what major or degree they earned to prepare them for their career.
  • Visit the Career Center and ask about career possibilities.  Come see us at GUC 202 or make an appointment by calling 256.765.4276.

Choosing a career is a big step! Note that most people don’t stay in the same career for the duration of their lives.  Career change is common and expected. The key is finding your starting point.

  • Visit the Career Center and speak with a career counselor that can help you make an informed decision.
  • Check out The Bureau of Labor Statistics to research your chosen career.  You can find the following information: job requirements, salary, expected growth and what degree is needed for the career.
  • Conduct an Informational Interview with professionals in the field you’ve chosen to find out what their degree/major was.
  • Check out Candid Career through the Career Center website and search for videos by career to find out the major of the interviewee.
  • Visit the department that houses the major in which you are interested to gather information from faculty members about careers pursued by graduates within that major. You may be able to find this information by visiting the departmental website at una.edu.

Congrats! It sounds like you’re confident in your choice of major and career.  As you move toward your chosen major, here are some resources that may be helpful. 

  • Look up your chosen career on the Bureau of Labor Statistics site to get some more insight about the field.  This can give you information regarding salary, work environment, how to prepare for the career, and projected growth.
  • Consider Job Shadowing to experience the work environment and get a close-up look at the job.
  • Conduct an Informational Interview with someone who is already working in your chosen field.  Ask them questions like “What is a typical day like in your job?” “What do you love about the job?” “What’s challenging about it?” “What are the requirements?”
  • Visit Candid Career to find short videos of professionals talking about their careers.
  • Gain experience while you’re in school.  Look into internships, student organizations, volunteer opportunities, honor societies, undergraduate research, etc.
  • Leave room for growth. Sometimes you may have doubts about your decision. That’s okay. It’s okay to change your major if you realize it’s not a good fit or it’s no longer the path you want to pursue.  If you find yourself unsure of your next steps, come see us at the Career Center.  We are here to help you every step of the way!