Choosing A Major
Choosing a major can feel like a big commitment. It’s important for you to explore your options and there are many advisors available across campus to help with your decision. There are also resources on this page for you to explore on your own. The intention is that through utilizing these tips and resources you will be able to declare a major with confidence and develop lifelong skills that can be used for exploring options in many situations. If you’re currently undeclared, and would like resources specific to your journey, you can visit ACAC’s Undeclared Resources page.
Major Exploration Areas
Here are tips and strategies within the main areas of academic and career exploration. The goal of these strategies and resources are to help develop your unique Identity, further your Academic and Career exploration, as well as develop your Decision Making and Goal Setting strategies in order to determine the most fulfilling majors and careers for you.
Here are some common stages of exploration that students experience. It is important to remember that these are generalized stages and everybody's journey is unique. For the best guidance make sure to meet with your advisor one-on-one to determine the best individualized plan for you
There are many factors when looking for a career, so finding a handful of options that suit your interest is a good idea. Once you have figured out which careers might have the greatest potential, you can trust your own direct experiences to guide you, and consider the following to clarify your perspective:
Figure out if anyone you know has experience in the field or if they have connections to the field
Set up informational interviews to answer any questions you may have
Find someone you can shadow
Do an internship in the field
Visit an organization that specializes in your interest
The Academic and Career Advising Center provides opportunities and resources for you to explore, experience and “try on” potential careers, including information interviews, volunteering, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships. Humboldt Handshake is a great source for searching jobs in your careers of interest. The Occupational Outlook Handbook by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good resource for statistical data.
Once you have narrowed down your major options, schedule a meeting with a department chair or a career advisor to get a better sense of your path. In these meetings you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the major, career opportunities, as well as the department and the faculty.
Here are some questions to ask an academic advisor or department chair:
Are there any faculty members/courses that specifically address my interests?
What’s rewarding about this field? What are the challenges?
If this major requires me to have a concentration or emphasis, how should I choose?
How flexible is the major with substituting or taking alternative courses?
Take courses that are interesting to you. Choose your General Education (GE) courses carefully, as they can help you gain insight into majors that meet your interest.
- The Occupational Information Network, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration, serves as a database on occupational information. Here you can find occupation-specific descriptions for most jobs in the United States. This can serve as a useful tool in researching future career interests. https://www.onetonline.org/
Career Values SkillShop
This SkillShop is designed to help you gain clarity and confidence with your own career values, which will help you make career choices that are more fulfilling. Approximate length: 1 hour
Declaring a Major
When you have decided on a new major you will need to complete a Major Change form. The form is available at the Office of the Registrar (Student Business Services Building 133) or online at registrar.humboldt.edu/forms.
When the form is completed and submitted back to the Office of the Registrar, the change will be made in the campus student database and an advisor from that department will be assigned to serve as your academic advisor. Congratulations! You have chosen a major!
By gaining a true understanding of who you are, conducting research into the most promising possibilities, trusting your own experiences, using your best judgment and making a meaningful commitment to the decision, you will become the planner, and architect of your life.