University of Vermont

Choosing a Major

How do you choose just one?

Some people just know; most do not. The Career Center is here to help.

Before you start, here are a few secrets to reduce your stress:

  • Most majors can lead to multiple careers. (And most career fields have people with a variety of majors).
  • Your College Experiences is more than just your Major. Think: volunteering, leadership, campus activities, athletics, internships, part-time jobs and more! See the 4 Year Plan for Career Success to think about your complete college experience.
  • Your Major Choice is unlikely to be a Major Mistake. Consider what you enjoy, what you are good at, and your potential long-term goals. Follow our step-by-step guide and you can find a major that’s right for you!

Major Choice Steps for Success:

  1. Get to know what majors and minors are offered at UVM. Explore the UVM Catalogue.
  2. Learn about how many majors translate to diverse career paths. Visit our page what can I do with a major in ... ? and find out what alumni in your major have done for work!
  3. Complete the choosing a major worksheet: Answer the questions, then meet with a career counselor to discuss. View the worksheet.
  4. Talk to professors about courses you are interested in. Professors are great resources about what it might be like to major in that area. Current students in that major can also share helpful information about their experience.
  5. Talk to friends, alumni and your parents. People who know you or are familiar with the career fields you are interested in can help provide valuable feedback and advice. Check out our 10 Tips for Talking with your Parents About Major Choice.
  6. Come see us. Our career counselors are qualified to help you talk through all of your thoughts and questions when declaring a major. Schedule an appointment or stop by The Hub to begin the conversation.

Changing Your Major

Changing your major is often not a one time event. Many students change their major one or more times during their college years. If you are thinking about changing your major - consider these tips and questions to help you make a solid choice:

  • Know that doubts are natural. These may arise because of a “sophomore slump”, an encounter with a particular professor, or some thinking about potential jobs. Think critically about whether changing your major is really warranted.
  • Know that staying in the wrong major can cause stress. Consider the alternatives to making a change – you may do poorly, leave school dissatisfied with your major and experiences, or be unprepared for the career you actually want.
  • Why did you choose the initial major in the first place? Did the reasons make sense then? What has changed?
  • What are your concerns with your current major? Are their issues with academic performance? Interpersonal difficulties? Have your interests changed? A mismatch with career goals?
  • Remember that choosing a major is not necessarily choosing a career. Most careers have multiple points of entry and your major may lead to multiple jobs. Consider whether the current major might still lead to a career of interest.
  • Consider the realities of making a change of major. This is more important if the change is happening later in college. Some majors are more easily changed than others. Will a change of major add an additional semester or year? Will it require some summer school classes? Can you afford the extra time or classes?
  • Explore other alternatives to changing majors. Could you consider a double major? A minor in another area? Might it make sense to consider graduate school to focus on the new interest? Or could you seek skills and knowledge in your new interest area through experiential learning opportunities such as internships, volunteering, service-learning, etc.? Consider all of the options.
  • Seek support! UVM has lots of resources to support you! Talk with your academic advisor, the Career Center, and/or faculty members.

Last modified September 05 2018 10:37 AM