RELAX! Only about half of entering freshmen know what they want to major in, and up to 75% change their minds at least once. Choosing a major does not limit you to a particular career path. In fact, only about 50% of college graduates report a close connection between college major and eventual career. A “good fit” major is often found at the intersection of one’s strengths, interests, values, and professional goals. Simply put, we tend to excel at things we’re interested in and good at – and you owe it to yourself to figure out what those things are.
Consider taking one of Tulane'sCareer Development (CRDV)courses. How do you go about choosing a major? How do you identify a course of study that reflects YOUR academic strengths and interests as well as your professional goals? Good questions and a CRDV course can help you start to answer them!
Don’t assume there has to be a direct connection between your major (or majors) and your professional goals. The fact that, in many cases, one’s undergraduate major ends up having no OBVIOUS or direct connection to one’s career path or future success. College, for most people, is a general education that develops the essential platform skills that will serve you well in any professional realm.
Have the courage to follow your intellectual curiosity. People will probably tell you that there are “practical” and “impractical” majors, but don’t believe them! Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, was a Fine Arts major, and in 2006 he and his partners sold YouTube for $1.76 billion dollars. Steve Martin would not be Steve Martin had he not majored in philosophy. In fact, his absurdist, off-the-wall humor came directly from his undergraduate studies.
Get to know the undergraduate options at Tulane. You’ll find a complete list of the undergraduate majors and minors here. Visit the departmental Web sites for any majors you’re interested in or curious about. Take the time to understand the degree requirements, look closely at the course listings and descriptions, and talk to your academic advisors about potential majors and minors.
Take internships seriously. Internships are your bridge to the professional world. If you’re interested in the movie business or publishing, be proactive! Do the research, make the calls, and line up your dream internship, even if that field has no obvious connection to your undergraduate major. Can be a French major and have an internship with Merrill Lynch? Absolutely!
Read a few helpful books. We’d recommend a wonderful little workbook called Selecting a College Major: Exploration and Decision Making by Virginia N. Gordon and Susan J. Sears. Another great book for exploratory students is Donald Asher’s How to Get Any Job: Life Launch and Re-Launch for Everyone Under 30 (or How to Avoid Living in Your Parents’ Basement). Asher’s book will allay many of your fears –and some of your parents’!