Majors and Careers

“What’s Your Major?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions for college students.

What’s your major?

When asked this question, do you feel . . .

  • Uncomfortable saying you’re undeclared or undecided
  • Most of your peers already know what they want to do
  • Something is “wrong” with you if you have not yet decided on a major
  • Stopped in your tracks . . . not wanting to make the wrong decision
  • As though you’re not adequately informed or prepared to declare a major

Choosing a major is an important decision for a student and our resources will help you answer this question as you learn about:

  • College Majors
  • Programs of Study
  • Careers
  • Yourself

What’s the purpose of choosing a major?

  • Do you want your major to prepare you for a specific career field?
  • Do you want your major to help you develop a depth of knowledge?
  • Do you want to learn skills that you can apply in many different fields of work?
  • Will your major simply be a subject that you enjoy studying?

Not everyone has the same purpose in choosing a major, so it is important to think about what YOU want and what YOUR goals are.

Does my academic major have to relate to a career choice?

Many believe that major and career choice are the same thing.

It is true that certain fields do require specific degrees or substantial course work in order to qualify for certification or licensing — such as Accounting, Education, Social Work, and Nursing.

However, numerous careers may require a degree or certificate for entry into the field, but not a specific major.

Most employers are concerned with the solid skill base gained through a college education.  Skills such as problem solving skills, critical thinking, organization, and analytical abilities are necessary for success in any industry.  The New World of Work 21st Century skills are identified as:

  • Adaptability
  • Analysis/solution mindset
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Digital fluency
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Empathy
  • Resilience
  • Self-awareness
  • Social/diversity awareness

Your college courses and academic experiences enable you to develop and enhance these skill areas regardless of your declared major.

What should I consider when selecting a major?

Students get overly concerned about selecting the “right” major.  The choice of an academic major is an individual and personal choice.  As the person declaring the major, you will be accountable for:

  • Attending the classes
  • Learning the material
  • Completing the coursework
  • Conducting the research
  • Taking the exams

Therefore you, and you alone, should decide what you will major in while attending Cypress College.

How do I begin the process of choosing a major?

  • The best place to begin with your choice of major is to think about your
    • Interests
    • Value
    • Strengths
    • Skills
    • Personality
    Can you imagine dreading going to class each semester because the material bores you or you have no real interest in the field? When you consider the amount of time you spend studying in courses related to your major — your interests and a desire to learn the material becomes critically important. The Career Planning Center utilizes several different assessments in combination with career counseling, and/or career classes, which can help you learn more about yourself and your options. No “test” or inventory can tell you what you should do, but these tools can be a good place to start for those who are undecided. The counseling and class sessions will help you
    • Assess yourself
    • Learn major career development theories
    • Explore career and major options
    • Gather information about the world of work
    • Establish short-term and long-term goals for career and life planning

What if I’m not ready to declare my major?

  • The choice of an academic major is not an easy choice and many students believe that once they choose a major they are “locked” into that course of study. This is not true. You may change your major as many times as you would like.  Declaring a major is never a final choice. There are, however, a few precautions to consider about changing a major too frequently or declaring late in your college career.
    • Some departments may restrict enrollment in courses to majors only
    • Other courses may have prerequisites that must be taken before enrollment is possible
    • There could be a limited number of courses open to you outside of the courses required in the general education program
    • If you declare or change your major late in your college career, your date of graduation may also change in order for you to complete the necessary graduation requirements for your new academic program

Do not rush the decision or choose your major out of thin air . . .   But do not delay learning about yourself to help in the decision making process.

You may find it easier to procrastinate because your focus is on completing general education requirements, but you need to realize that choosing a major is a decision you will need to make – and no one else can make it for you.

Are there benefits to declaring a major if I’m not sure?

Are there benefits to declaring my major if I’m hesitant?

There ARE plenty of benefits to declaring a major.

  • When you declare a major, you are assigned to a major-specific counselor. This gives you an opportunity to get to know which courses to take, and receive assistance and advice from a counselor familiar with the department and the curriculum
  • You will learn about the recommended sequences in which to take courses, and how frequently they are offered
  • You will be better able to network with faculty and others in your major and have access to student organizations, scholarships, and departmental activities
  • Saves time and money by enrolling in courses in which you are truly interested