Choosing a Major
Getting to Know Yourself...
When it comes time to choose a major it is important to first identify three things...
- Your skill sets
- What you can do
- What you like to do
The following themes, which are based on the Holland code, identify a few majors that you may want to investigate based on what you like to do and what you can do. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive; rather, it is to illustrate that you have a large selection of options based on your interests and skill sets. Once you have established an occupational theme you can begin to research individual career options.
Are you...practical, straightforward, mechanically inclined, a nature lover, athletic, and/or curious about the physical world?
Can you...fix electrical things, pitch a tent, solve mechanical problems, plant a garden, and/or operate tools or machinery?
Do you like to...tinker with machines, be physically active, use your hands, work outdoors, and/or build things?
If so, consider exploring career options categorized as Realistic. Realistic people are interested in an active hands on approach, action rather than thought and prefer concrete problems to abstract ones. Realistic majors, minors, and programs include biological sciences, anthropology, chemistry and biochemistry, computer sciences, civil, environmental, mechanical, and electrical engineering, geological sciences, kinesiology, criminal justice, health sciences, computer science.
Are you...inquisitive, analytical, scientific, observant, and/or precise?
Can you...think abstractly, solve math problems, understand complex theories, use a microscope, and/or interpret formulas?
Do you like to...gather information, uncover new facts, explore ideas, use computers, work independently, perform lab experiments, and/or analyze data?
If so, consider exploring career options categorized as Investigative. Investigative people are scientific and inquiring and enjoy solving abstract problems. Investigative majors, minors, and programs include biological sciences, mathematics, physics, exercise sports science, information technology, chemistry, biochemistry, philosophy, sociology, geological sciences, kinesiology, civil, environmental, electrical or mechanical engineering, finance, accounting.
Are you...creative, expressive, intuitive, imaginative, innovative, and/or an individualist?
Can you...sketch/draw/paint, write stories/music/plays, originate new ideas, or design fashion/interiors?
Do you like to...visit art museums, attend concerts/plays/theatre, read fiction/plays/poetry, work on crafts, plan a dinner menu, and/or express yourself creatively?
If so, consider exploring career options categorized as Artistic. Artistic people are interested in aesthetics and self expression. Artistic majors, minors, and programs include art, english, communications, theatre and dance, radio/TV/ film, teaching, advertising, public relations, journalism, graphic design, child and adolescent studies, education.
Are you...friendly, helpful, idealistic, outgoing, patient, and/or understanding?
Can you...teach/train others, express yourself clearly, lead a discussion, plan and supervise an activity, and/or cooperate well with others?
Do you like to...work in groups, share responsibilities, help people, volunteer, and/or participate in meetings?
If so, consider exploring career options categorized as Social. Social people like to solve problems through discussions of feelings and through interactions with others. Social majors, minors, and programs include educational leadership, liberal studies, communications, psychology, sociology, human services, child and adolescent studies, education, counseling, comparative religion, business, ethnic studies, nursing, gerontology, human communication studies, women's studies, foreign language education, criminal justice.
Are you...self confident, assertive, persuasive, enthusiastic and/or energetic?
Can you...initiate projects, convince people, sell things, organize activities and events, and/or lead a group?
Do you like to...make decisions, take risks, be elected to an office, be seen and heard, start your own business, win a leadership award, and meet important people?
If so, consider exploring career options categorized as Enterprising. Enterprising people enjoy leading others toward organizational goals and economic success. Enterprising majors, minors, and programs include business administration, management, marketing, advertising, political science, communications, public administration, sports management, teaching, criminal justice, broadcast journalism, human resources, radio/TV/film.
Are you...well organized, accurate, methodical, conscientious. and/or efficient?
Can you...work well within a system, do paper work quickly, keep accurate records, use a computer terminal, and write effective business letters?
Do you like to...follow defined procedures, process data quickly, work with numbers, type or word process, organize information, and/or be responsible for details?
If so, consider exploring career options categorized as Conventional. Conventional people work well in large organizations and like to use information to solve problems efficiently. Conventional majors, minors, and programs include accounting, finance, information technology, computer science, information systems and decision sciences, physics, communications, public administration, human resources, criminal justice.
Skills and Personality Assessments
Consider taking interests or personality assessments to identify how your skills, interests, and personalities match majors and careers.
- The Strong Interest Inventory is designed to assess your interests and link them to related career occupations and majors
- The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is designed to assess your personality traits and link them to related career occupations
- EUREKA database offers a free skills assessment and is accessible in the Career Center Computer Lab in LH-208
- Ferguson Career Guidance Center offers a free interest assessment and is accessible on- and off-campus through the student portal. Login to your student portal and click on the "Career Center" link
- California Career Zone- offers free skills and values assessments accessible online www.cacareerzone.org
For more information about assessments or to take an assessment:
- Login to your student portal
- Click Career Center
Career Center Resources
For more information on careers that you can pursue within these occupational themes please consider using the following Career Center resources.
- Ferguson's Career Guidance Database, a national career database, can display all careers associated with a particular discipline, as well as provide industry overviews, career descriptions, and other valuable resources. The database is accessible from on- and off-campus, through the student portal. Login to your student portal and click the "Career Center" link.
- Eureka is a database that provides information on careers, majors, occupations, and a skills assessment specific to the state of California. This database is available in the Career Center computer lab in LH-208.
- O'Net Online, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, provides detailed occupational information. To access the website, go to www.online.onetcenter.org .
- CALIFORNIA CAREER ZONE, developed among the California Career Resource Network (CalCRN) , the California Department of Education (CDE), and the Employment Devel- opment Department's Labor Market Information Division. This careerexplorationandplanningsystemisdesignedspecificallyfor students and provides career information and free assessments. To access this website go to: www.cacareerzone.org.