University College

Major Exploration

Many students are undecided about their majors when they enter college - and many who think they have decided will change their minds more than once before they graduate. There is a lot to choose from at UNCW, and there are many factors to think about as you consider potential majors.

Most students begin exploring majors with some preconceived ideas about how to choose a major and about the impact that choice will have on their lives. Many of these ideas are really just myths and misconceptions.

Common Myths about Declaring a Major

  • The best way to find out about a major is to take courses in it (false!)
  • I should finish my University Studies courses first, and then focus on a major (false!)
  • Picking a major and picking a career is the same thing (false!)
  • Choosing one major means I have to give up all others (false!)
  • My major will determine what I do for the rest of my life (false!)

Students change their major an average of three times before graduation. Choosing a major doesn't limit you to one career. Most majors give you the education that can enable you to enter a variety of careers. Here are the most effective steps in choosing a major / career:

Step 1: Begin with Self-Assessment

What are your...
• Interests
• Skills
• Values
• Goals
• Personality Traits / Preferences
• Career Interests
• Preferred Work Environment

Step 2: Gather Career Information

What Can I Do With A Major In
• Google video search of the job title
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Career Center Resources for Researching Employers
UNCW Undergraduate Catalog and Academics website
Consider Major course requirements

Step 3: Discuss Your Options

• Talk to professionals in your field, UNCW Alumni, faculty, advisors, and current students to get the inside scoop. Learn how to network… from the initial contact to what questions to ask here
UNCW Student Organizations
SeaWork (job/internship/employer database)
CareerShift (job/contacts/company search engine)
• Job Shadow
• Meet with your academic advisor
• Meet with a career counselor

Step 4: Test Drive Your Careers

• Job Shadowing
• Volunteering
• Internships
• Related Part-Time Job
• Study Abroad
• Undergraduate research
• Join a Student Club/Organization
**From the UNCW Career Center website: