Changed Your Mind?  Find Work Beyond Your Major 


Arrows showing two directions

So you’ve realized you don’t want to follow your major’s “career path”? No problem! For example, it may seem natural that if you earn a teaching degree, you’ll become a teacher. However, holding an education (or any other) degree can qualify you for jobs in a variety of industries including business, non-profit work, publishing, government and much more. You have developed skills through your coursework and activities, and there are plenty of positions that you can find outside of the expected career options. Identify your transferrable skills and match them with career fields of interest.

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Major Choice 101

List of UVM majors

If you’re like most students, choosing a major while applying to college is intimidating to say the least. After taking general high school classes, you’re suddenly expected to know what specifically you want to do for the rest of your life. Undoubtedly, choosing a major can be stressful and daunting, but there’s really no need to put more unneeded pressure on yourself (I’m sure your parents have already got that covered).

The good news for you is that, you’re here, at UVM—a University with incredible opportunities, resources, faculty and students. Instead of simply telling you not to worry or giving you some abstract advice on “pursuing your passion”, I am going to give you some concrete options and advice for choosing a major. Continue reading

A “MAJOR” Decision

Person in front of doors A and B with a question mark overhead

You may want someone to give you the magical answer. There is no perfect formula that fits everyone. “What should I major in?” is a personal question that may take some time to figure out.

Six Steps:

  1. Self Reflection: What is my goal? Is it to make money, follow a passion, do something I am good at, get a degree?
  2. Examine Abilities: What am I good at? What do I love to do (in school and outside school)?
  3. Values: What is important to me?
  4. Explore Future Options: What are other people doing who majored in this field?
  5. Reality Check: How long do I want to be in school? Do I need an advance degree? Identify obstacles.
  6. Narrow your Choices: What is available at UVM?

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Choosing a Major–A Major Adventure!

Woman drawing a 3D spiral off a wall

Undecided? Great! Some colleges use the word “exploratory” to identify students who have not yet decided on a major. It’s a great reminder that choosing a major can be a positive process that helps you make the most of your college experience!

Where to begin?

  • Start with some self-exploration. What interests you? What do you like to read… do….watch? What kinds of things intrigued you as a kid?
  • What are your options? You may be more decided than you think! Rule out those of no interest, and watch that list of possibilities shrink to something more manageable.
  • Get more info on majors you are curious about. Check out course listings, read course descriptions. Get brave! Follow up by meeting with a faculty member in the department and ask them to refer you to a student who is enjoying the major.
  • Test the waters by taking a course or two in the major. What piques your interest?

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Finding Your Fit: Choosing an Academic Major

Major Choices

Upon entering college, the pressure to choose a field of undergraduate study may seem overwhelming. Many mistakenly believe that this major will dictate the pathway of your life, when really it will become the foundation for any career. If you are feeling that your major is not a reflection of your interests, perhaps it is time for a change. According to MSNBC, approximately 50% of college students change their major at least once. If you do decide to change majors, take some time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

Are you considering a major change?  If so, here are some steps you can take to help you reach your decision:

1.)    Make a list of your interests. Do they match any of the classes that you have taken?
2.)    Visit UVM’s list of majors and minors
3.)    Run a Cat’s Audit Report, then a “What If” Audit. Those can be helpful if you are looking to see what academic requirements you will need to graduate.
4.)    Set up a meeting with your advisor, and also with a department faculty or staff in programs of interest to discuss your thoughts about changing majors. This is especially important if you are looking to transfer to a different college/school.
5.)    Come to Career Services Drop-In hours to speak with a counselor (Monday- Thursday, 1-4 in L/L E-140; Tuesdays 11-1 in Rosa Parks Room, Davis Center)
6.)    Become involved in clubs, volunteer, and/or work experiences that will allow you to gauge whether this is a field you would enjoy.  Seasonal or part time experience is a good start.
7.)    Make sure that all of the proper paperwork is filed with the UVM Registrar’s office

~Shayna, Career Peer Advisor