Major and Minor Exploration

Nationally, of students who enter their first year of college undecided, 22% are completely undecided, while 31% are tentatively decided and 43% have several ideas but are not ready to decide (Gordon and Steele, 2003).  One of every five first-year students at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) comes in undeclared as his or her major.  Further, even though many students do enter IWU with a major, this often changes once they start taking classes.  Whether you are undecided or contemplating a change of major, there are appropriate resources available to you at IWU!

Strategies

  • Utilize the resources on campus in the Academic Advising Center (Holmes Hall - Room 110, through the Office of the Registrar) and in the Hart Career Center in the Welcome Center.

  • Evaluate your interests, skills, values and how they will coincide with various majors and career paths.  Make lists!

  • Research the majors offered at IWU and start to gain more information about them.  Eliminate programs you know you are not interested in.

  • Visit department homepages of majors that are of interest to you.

  • Attend meetings of student and professional organizations that interest you.

  • Pursue course work and co-curricular activities that expand your knowledge about fields of study and help you develop additional skills.  This will aid you in self-assessment in the major and career decision-making process.  Computer, foreign language, leadership, and communication skills are valuable in any profession.

  • Talk to friends and classmates about their majors, minors, and career paths.  Talk to professors and advisors about programs and majors related to courses and subjects that interest you.

  • Search for specific professions you are interested in on the Occupational Outlook Handbook to get an overview of the profession and education needed:  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

  • Use the Internet to search for information on potential academic and career interests.

  • Remember that a liberal arts degree can lead you to a variety of different career paths!

Resources