Career planning and choosing your major are often related decisions. While some students come to university with a specific career path in mind, many students use their time at university to explore and begin making that decision. For some, having a career goal assists them in staying motivated and focused, while other students prefer to leave the options more broad. There is no ‘right’ way. Remember, you may change your mind. With most undergraduate degrees your major will provide you specific knowledge in a certain discipline, but not limit you to careers only in that discipline.
Do remember that graduate and professional programs may have specific requirements. If you are interested in further education, it is always important to research the programs and their requirements.
Things to Consider
- Liberal education majors ARE employable. The skills you develop are highly valued by employers and are applicable to a wide variety of professional jobs.
- Through your university degree you can expect to gain a variety of skills including the ability to: analyze facts, situations and ideas; draw conclusions based on different points of view; find new ways to solve problems; think critically and have good judgment; find evidence, organize ideas, think logically; present conclusions clearly and persuasively
- There is much you can do BEYOND course work in your major to improve your chances of career success. Employers consistently place a high value on extracurricular activities. At Trent, some of these things include: Trent Centre for Community Based Education; reading courses; extracurricular activities i.e. student organizations, athletic teams, social groups, and student government; summer and part-time jobs; volunteer activities.
Remember, choosing a major doesn't carve in stone what you'll do for the rest of your life.
Take the time to reflect and research so you make the best possible decision for you. As with all decisions, you can expect to experience some uncertainty. Think about decisions you have made in the past. Have you always been sure about the choices you make or did you agonize over details? As you have probably learned, there is often not only one right choice. Rather your choice will need to be based on the factors that are most important to you.
Consider the following questions:
- What do I like to do in my spare time?
- What books do I like to read?
- What television shows do I enjoy?
- What courses have I enjoyed the most?
- What were my best grades in high school/first year?
- What was the most interesting assignment/essay I have completed?
- What activities do I excel in?
Often the challenge to making a decision is that we do not have all of the information we need. Cultural Studies may sound like an interesting major, but we may not really understand what we would study. Taking the time to get the necessary information will make your decision less stressful and more enjoyable.
At Trent, there are many resources to help you with this decision.
Academic Calendar – The Calendar provides an overview of the different departments and courses offered. By reviewing the individual courses, you can often identify the majors that most appeal to you.
Academic Advisor – Your Academic Advisor can help you navigate and understand the different information you receive in your first year.
Department Web Sites and Staff – The specific department can be a wealth of information for you. Whether you visit it online or in person, you will have the opportunity to ask specific question about courses and major requirements.
Professors – Professors can provide information about the courses, as well as give you ideas of what previous students have studied.
Fellow Students – This is the inside scoop on courses and related assignments.
Careerspace – The Careerspace can provide general information on the different types of majors. As well, information is available on what your degree may translate to after graduation. Check out What Can I Do With My Degree.