Are you a new student at Illinois State University, finishing up your general education classes, or trying to decide which major is right for you? The Career Center provides these tips to help students with these tough yet important decisions:

1. Learn about yourself

When trying to identify a major, the first step is for a student to learn about his/her self. What are your interests, values, or talents? Is there something you enjoyed doing all your life? What skills have you developed that you could use in a professional setting? There are many career options available and many to match your interests and skills. To conduct your own self-assessment:

  • Visit the Career Center website to Explore Your Options
  • Consider questions such as: What classes am I interested in? How do I spend my free time? What do friends and family tell me are my strengths?
  • Use FOCUS, a self-guided series of online assessments to assist you in exploring your personal interests, values, and abilities, as well as possible occupations and careers.

2. Research majors and careers

Once you’ve done your self-assessment, make a list of all of the majors or careers that you may be interested in. Look up information about each major including the GPA requirement to be accepted and the classes you would take by clicking the majors section on the Illinois State University homepage. Here are a few tips to consider during your research:

  • Try an elimination activity. Look over all of the majors offered at Illinois State University, and cross off the ones that are not of any interest.
  • Take a variety of classes.
  • Take the Career Choice class (IDS 106)
  • Talk to faculty and students in programs of interest and gather information.
  • Job shadow someone currently in the position or participate in informational interviews with professionals working in your fields of interest.

3. Identify your options

Finally, meet with your career advisor to discuss your options. A career advisor can help you narrow down your search and assist you with applying for the major you choose. Career advisors can also help you identify what careers you can pursue with your chosen major.

There are many options of what to do with a major, and career advisors can help you with your decision. Choosing a major is a process that takes time, and being proactive and flexible is the best strategy for making a wise choice.

For more information about exploring your options, contact the Career Center.