The Major Exploration Process: Examine Your Interests, Strengths, Goals and Values

One way to start the process of exploring majors is by knowing yourself. This enables you to choose a major that is a good fit for you. Consider your aptitudes, interests, values and limitations, particularly as they apply to your academic performance.



Strengths

Ask yourself:

  • What classes have I done well in? What parts of the class did I seem to do well in?
  • What skills/abilities/talents do I have? What are my strengths? (Remember a time when you achieved something – what skills were you using?)
  • What do your friends come to you for help with? Chemistry problems? Papers? Conflicts in their personal lives? Fixing their broken lamp?
  • What do you contribute in group work? Creative brainstorming? Organizational skills? Leadership? Mediation/conflict resolution?
  • What tasks have brought me the most success? What tasks do I think I could do well but have not done yet?


Interests

Ask yourself:

  • Which classes have I enjoyed the most? What is it that I enjoyed about those classes?
  • Which classes do I tend to avoid? What do I find not interesting about those classes in particular?
  • What types of things excite me? What am I passionate about it? What is important to me?
  • What do I like to do in my spare time? What do I like to read, watch and search on the internet?
  • What organizations have I enjoyed being involved in, or have always wanted to be involved in?
  • What types of careers appeal to me? Why? Do those careers fit with my skills and values?
  • What are the similarities and differences between the majors and careers I am tentatively considering?
  • What haven't I tried that I think I might like?
  • What did I like most/least about job and volunteer experiences I have had?


Goals/Values

Ask yourself:

  • What are my goals, including education, personal and career?
  • What motivates me?
  • What personal and career values do I hold? Some ideas:

Help Others
Environment
Knowledge
Variety
Power/Authority
Profit Gain
Work Alone/Independence

Advancement
Competition
Creativity
Location
Stability/Security
Status/Recognition
Influence People




  • Visit the Career Services Center and take a career-related assessment to connect your interests and personality preferences to potential majors and careers. The Career Services Center offers two assessments and for each you will meet with a Career Counselor to discuss the results.
  • Ask your family, friends and supervisors what characteristics and skills they see in you. How might these relate to a major or career?
  • Take a wide variety of classes during your first and second years through GURs and electives. This challenges you to learn more about yourself, strengths and weaknesses, and can introduce you to new interests.


  • Check out some of these other resources to help:



Next:  Identify and Explore Your Options
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Page Updated 06.25.2014