Deciding on a Major
Students often feel pressure to decide on a major for their first year. Keep in mind that approximately 40% of students are undecided about a major when they enter college, and many students change their major at least once during their first two years. The first year or two can be a time to study subjects in which you have an interest or a time to explore topics new to you. An educated person needs to understand the variety of ways of knowing and to see the connections among them. You may find a more creative, meaningful major by first studying broadly and then finding the best fit for you.
Graduates offer a wide range of transferrable skills and enter a variety of careers from many different courses of study. Careers include medicine, television, law, sales, foreign service, finance, politics, public relations, non-profit business, and environmental consulting.
We advise students to select a major by the end of their sophomore year in order to complete all major requirements within four years. Some majors (often those offering Bachelor of Science degrees) have a strict sequence of courses over the four years. In those cases, it makes sense to declare the major in the first year.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you choose a major:
- What are my interests?
If you choose a major you don't enjoy, you may not do well in classes that don't interest you.
- What are my talents?
Determine what kinds of majors are suited for people with your talents. Are you analytical? Are you interested in helping people? Are you a strong creative writer? Are you an artist? Do you have a gift of persuasion?
- In what academic areas have I been successful?
Reflect on whether your academic successes match your interests. Investigate whether your demonstrated successes coordinate with the requirements of a major.
- What careers am I interested in?
Take advantage of UVM's Career Services Center. They can give you information about career planning and connect you to alumni who work in various fields.
- What majors are available?
There are over 45 majors available. Familiarize yourself with the options. The Academic Introduction to the Major (AIM) can help you learn more.
- Academic Introduction to the Major (AIM) courses
- Consult the UVM On-line Catalogue
- Speak to the Department Chair and Faculty Members
- Outcomes of a Liberal Arts Education: Transferable Skills (pdf)
- Visit MyMajors.com online, a resource that connects student to their majors and their futures.
- Talk to juniors and seniors and ask what they like, dislike about their majors and their career plans. A department chair should be able to connect you to upper level students.
- UVM Career Services
- Talk to your academic advisor about your interests and ask for suggestions.
Last modified June 16 2015 05:26 PM