Going to College

Transcript: Deciding on a major

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Hi. I’m Erica Lovelace and I’d like to talk to you all today about choosing a major and some considerations that you might want to look at as you’re planning your future. One of the things that I first want to tell you is where I’m from. I’m from the Department of Rehabilitative Services which is also known as Vocational Rehabilitation. And I say that because you all might be interested in contacting your local VR office to see whether or not they may be able to offer you some assistance in helping you determine your major. They have the ability to do some career assessments, career guidance and counseling and exploration. It’s an excellent resource that you all might wanna consider as you’re planning your college career and looking at what is your major study and what types of employment opportunities might you engage in once you’ve completed your education.

Some of the things that you might wanna consider on your own when you’re looking at a major is what are you interested in, what are the things that you like to do as a hobby, as a vocation, those are things that might direct you in choosing your major. Some of the other things that you might wanna consider are not feeling that you have to choose a major immediately. You don’t have to declare your major until sometimes after your second year. The first year to that you’re enrolled in a college program, you’re really concentrating on your core courses: Your English, your math, your history, your science. You also have to get some electives in. What an opportunity to use those electives to help you determine what your major is going to be. You can look at all of the programs that are available, take a few electives in courses that you think you might be interested in and have that help you as a guide and a tool to use as you’re choosing your major.

Some other things that you wanna consider are following your heart. Look at what it is that you truly want to do. I’ve worked with students for quite a few years and I’ve seen so many students that go into a program based on the amount of money they’re going to be able to earn and it really hasn’t been a good match. The money is not the most important thing when you’re considering choosing a major in your ultimate employment. You’re gonna work many, many years. It’s important that you’re working in a field that you enjoy and that you have a passion for. So keep that in mind and follow your heart in what it is that you really wanna do and the environment that you really wanna be involved in.

You’re also going to get a lot of information from many, many different people. Don’t feel pressured into choosing a major based on the influence and the opinions of others. It has to be something that you’re really interested in. Once you’re looking at your major consider the entire course work. There’s probably gonna be some courses that you may or may not like. So as you’re picking your major look at the entire requirements for the degree program and what the courses are that you’re gonna have to take to satisfy that major.

You might also wanna look at the employment areas that are going to be available to you once you complete a major. You certainly don’t wanna pick a major only to find out that the employment arena for that major is either decreasing and or the jobs are being outsourced, so your likelihood of finding suitable employment is not very great. So keep that in mind. And along those lines some things that you might wanna do while you’re still in high school during your summers in helping you choose a major is to actually visit some employers where you think they have the types of jobs that you might eventually be interested in. Do some informational interviewing where you meet with the employer or you meet with an employee within a certain company and you talk to that employee and you ask some very pointed questions. What type of training do they require, what were their interest, what do they like about the job they’re doing, what do they dislike about the job that they’re currently doing, what is a typical day like for them. And maybe one of the most important questions is if they had it to do over again, would they still choose the same field.

The next step that you can do after the informational interviewing is visit a job site. Ask an employer or an HR Department if you could do some job shadowing where you actually are with an employee for a day, a half a day or a prescribed amount of time and you actually follow that individual for a day and you observe what their activities are and the interaction that they’re required to do with others and the actual work that they are assigned. Those are some good ideas to consider when you’re looking at choosing a major.

The other thing that you might wanna consider when you’re looking at your major and as it ties into employment opportunities what types of additional training might be required beyond completion of a bachelor’s degree. Are you looking at a field that is going to require a master’s degree or certification training or perhaps a PhD? Those might be things that you want to consider as you’re looking at choosing a major. There’s places where you can get information on labor market trends, so that you can look at. What are the jobs that are increasing in demand over a period of time? And if those are jobs that are going to become available and their areas of interest you might wanna look at at the majors.

One of the things that as a VR Councilor, I encourage individuals to do is focus on your employment goal. Look at your employment goal and what are the requirements of that employment goal as opposed to necessarily focusing in on a degree or a major, but look at the actual work that you’re interested in and what are the requirements to meet those work requirements.

Another thing that you might wanna consider in choosing a major is what are the expectations from the university. Are you required to get above a 2.0? Some universities require that you have a 3.0 in your chosen major. Those are some things that you might wanna consider before selecting a major.

Some of the other things that you might wanna look at is whether or not a foreign language is required. Do you have to take a foreign language to satisfy that major? And you need to know these things at the beginning of selecting your major. Not at the end when you’re anticipating having your degree.

In closing, I hope that you found some of these ideas helpful and that you’ll use some of the ideas. Most importantly follow your heart, have fun, explore your options as you’re choosing your major. Thank you so much.

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