To find the right major (or majors) for you, you need to first understand yourself. You should think about what has motivated you in the past, what occupies your time in the present, and what excites you about your possible future(s). As part of this process, you should assess your interests, strengths, aptitudes, values, goals, and expectations. As you reflect, don’t hesitate to talk with your Newnan academic advisor about what you learn.
- What types of classes have sparked your intellectual interests and curiosity?
- Do you find big-picture questions interesting? What about the nitty-gritty questions?
- What are your oldest childhood interests? What are your newest interests?
- What topics or activities or ideas or conversations take up most of your free time?
- In which activities do you display a sense of energy and engagement?
- What types of things do you do that just seem naturally enjoyable?
- What types of jobs or careers appeal to you? Consider completing the O*NET Interest Profiler online or visit the Career Center for the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Strong Interest Inventory (this survey involves a fee).
- What do you see yourself doing in ten, twenty, or thirty years from now?
Strengths and Aptitudes
- What types of classes have you succeeded in?
- What skills have you developed through classwork, extracurricular activities, and jobs?
- For what do people often pay you compliments?
- Make a list of ten or twenty strengths and aptitudes and then differentiate between those you would like to do and those you prefer not to do.
- Is it important for you to work alone and make your own decisions? Or do you like to work closely with others to achieve a common goal?
- Do you like to help, advise, or care for others?
- Do you like to engage in creative work and innovative thinking or do you appreciate clearly defined tasks and expectations?
- Do you appreciate change and diversity or stability?
- How important for you is prestige and fame?
Goals and Expectations
- What kind of work/life balance do you hope for?
- With whom will you be working?
- Do you expect financial or other material rewards that will ensure a comfortable lifestyle?
- What types of work environments are important for your well-being?
After gaining clarity about your interests, strengths, aptitudes, values, goals, and expectations, you should research various potential majors with the aim of narrowing your search to a few serious contenders. A great first step is to talk with your Newnan academic advisor, who can help you devise a plan.
- Browse the LSA Course Guide and read descriptions for three courses in a variety of departments. With each course, decide if it is one that you would definitely want to take, might be interested in taking, or would not want to take. When you’re done, consider the classes that fall in each category and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do these classes tend to fall in one department or area of discipline (such as Humanities, Natural Science, or Social Science)?
- Do these classes tend to focus on one or two themes or topics that are drawn from different departments or disciplines?
- Do these classes tend to emphasize a particular skill (reading, writing, lab/clinical research, solving equations/problems, providing direct service, creating finished products, arguing a position, understanding concepts across contexts/cultures, imagining new theories…)?
- Write down your observations and the patterns you observe.
- Take a wide range of classes to explore fields of potential interest.
- If you like a class, take another class and sit-in on upper-level classes that count towards potential majors (depending on the class you may want to request permission to do so from the instructor).
Talk to People
- Talk to your friends, classmates, mentors, and family members about classes that interest you and them.
- Talk to your Newnan academic advisor about your interests, strengths, values, and goals/expectations, as well as the classes you have taken. Ask them for recommendations about other potential classes to take in the future.
- Talk to current majors and departmental peer advisors about how they chose the major, the classes they have found the most fulfilling, what they are doing within the major, and what their plans are for after graduation.
- Talk to faculty of classes you have liked, as well as faculty of classes that look interesting to you. Ask them about their field, research, and professional history. Ask them to recommend other classes to take within the department.
- Talk to departmental advisors about their majors. Ask about prerequisite and required classes, and about when you can declare or if you must apply for admission to the major. Also talk with them about co-curricular and professional development opportunities for undergraduates, and what their majors have gone on to do after graduation. Ask for the contact info of some departmental alumni.
- Contact graduates from various departments. Talk to them about their educational history (the classes they took, their experiences as an undergraduate) and their professional history. Before you contact alumni, be familiar with who they are and what they do. After you talk with alumni, thank them for their time.
- Spend time at the Major/Minor Expo, held every March, to talk with advisors and faculty from many LSA departments.
- Attend meetings of student groups, workshops, information sessions, class fairs, and speakers series organized by various departments (you can find many events posted on Advise Me Weekly).
Once you have completed a process of self-reflection and explored your interests and options, it is time to take further action towards declaring your major:
Review your prospective department’s website for information about prerequisite and requisite classes and jot down potential questions to ask during a declaration appointment.
Considering your interests, strengths, values, and goals/expectations, make a plan for what you want to accomplish in your major and in the years after graduation.
Schedule an appointment with a department advisor to discuss your plan and check if you are ready to declare the major.
- Once you have declared your major, immerse yourself in the department’s intellectual community by getting involved with student groups and talk with fellow majors, advisors, graduate students, and instructors about academic options, undergraduate research, internship and study abroad opportunities, alumni networking programs, and potential post-graduation paths.
- Consider other majors and minors that might allow you to gain mastery in other academic fields, build your intellectual portfolio, and develop transferrable skills.
- Take advantage of the professional development and networking resources offered by the Alumni Association, Career Center, and LSA Internships, as well as other academic and co-curricular opportunities on campus.