Picking a Major
What is a major?
“Your major is not your end goal; it’s a series of classes that will help you accomplish your goal.”– Katharine Brooks, You Majored In What? Designing Your Path from College to Career
A major is essentially a college guide; a combination of classes and experiences designed to provide a student with both in-depth and broad based skills and knowledge. Majors usually fall into one of two categories; Liberal Arts (LA), such as Women’s Studies, which teach a broad range of skills; and professional majors, such as Nursing, which tend to lead directly into one specific career or career field. St. Catherine University offers a mix of both LA majors and professional majors at the baccalaureate level.
To find a list of majors offered at St. Kates, click here.
What is important when picking a major?
First of all, think about what you like to study and what you would like to do in college.
If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in business, but the thought of taking management and accounting classes makes you dread the start of the semester, then perhaps there is a choice that will better align with your interests.
If you find that many classes you have to take for a major don’t appeal to you, it may be important to consider if that’s a field you are actually interested in.
There are often other ways that you can get involved in an industry you find interesting–if you like Healthcare, but hate the idea of taking anatomy and pharmacology, consider if there are other areas of healthcare that may interest you more (healthcare businesses still need accountants and marketing specialists!), or a similar area you may find interesting (public health, social work, etc.).
Consider your interests. Make sure that you consider both educational and life interests when choosing a major. In short, major in what you love and find interesting. Students who choose a major that they really love and enjoy are more likely to graduate, and are also more likely to have better grades throughout college.
To explore your interests, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you have hobbies you’ve pursued for awhile?
- What awards or honors have you received in your life?
- What classes in your previous education did you find interesting?
- If you had to choose a topic to give a presentation on, or write a paper about, what would you choose?
- What about your hobbies or interests do you enjoy? Can you find that component in a job/field?
Finally, make sure you stay away from “shoulds.” I should take this class because my parents want me to; I should know what my major is already; I should major in (insert major here) because that’s what I always thought I would go into. Try to put the “shoulds” aside when choosing your major.
If you are continuing to struggle with this, challenge yourself to honestly answer the question:
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you pursue?
Resources to Explore Majors
The Career Development Office offers a number of ways for you to learn more about your interests and how to match them to a career you would enjoy.
Take Assessments: PathwayU
Take PathwayU’s quick assessments to explore your interests, personality, work preferences, and values, and align them to different career options.
Explore: What Can I Do With This Major?
Learn about typical career areas and types of employers that hire people with each major, as well as strategies to make you a more marketable candidate. Continue your research through the websites provided.
If you would like to learn more about careers outside of these resources, we also recommend:
Job Shadowing or Informational Interviews
- Talk to faculty about specific majors
- Talk to students in majors that interest you
- Reach out to alumni who are currently in the field
Try It Out
Exploring majors and careers firsthand is the surest way to get a real feel for what you like to do, and what you don’t.
- Join Campus Affiliated Clubs & Organizations
- Take classes that spark your interest
- Volunteer for events and organizations