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Picking A Major & Planning Your Future

Picking a major can seem like a really daunting task.

It’s confusing, sometimes complicated, and can lock you into a future career you’re not 100% certain of just yet. But no matter how intimidating it might seem or feel it’s important to start thinking and planning for it early.

Know your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) 

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What jobs, ideas, etc. do you think about pursuing?
  • What makes you say, “Nope, that is not for me”?

Do Your Research

  • Based on your SWOT, research majors relating to your strengths and opportunities.
  • Speak to an academic advisor or counselor about the types of majors and programs available at your school.
  • Find jobs in the respective fields of your interest. (Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook)

Time to Network

  • Start by speaking with your college career center. See when job fairs or networking opportunities might be available on campus or nearby.
  • Break out of your shell, it will be worth it. Meet with business owners, presidents, workers, etc. of the companies that spark your interest.
  • Get insight on what it takes to be professional and successful in that job industry and job position. What are the responsibilities of that job? What type of career path is typical?
  • What are the positives/negatives of that job?
  • Talk to advisors and professors! After all, they are intelligent individuals with connections and experience.

Get Informed

  • Know what is required for the major(s) based on the occupation(s) in your interest.
  • Make sure to understand the necessary credentials. Does it require additional school via graduate school, law school, etc. Do you need to pass certain certifications or practical’s to be licensed?
  • Find organizations that are tailored to the major(s) of your choice.

Get to Work

  • Take a deep-thinking analysis of what major(s) are best for YOU. (P.S. It is okay to change majors after your first semester; this is a learning experience. But be realistic about your goals and timeline for graduation.)
  • Register for classes. Make sure to outline and include all of the required classes needed to graduate with the degree you want.
  • Make a four-year plan of what to do every semester regarding your major/occupation of choice.
  • Stay “in the know” of advising sessions, and new things coming to your major’s department.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your academic advisor or counselor. They’re there to help you! Don’t let this free resource go by. They can help ensure you’re staying on track.
  • Get to know professors in the department or program you intend to major in. They can help give you practical advice about classes and planning your future in this field.

Look for internship opportunities, both during the school year and summer. This is probably the single best way to ensure that the major you pick is the right one for your future.

About the Author

Jonnese Goings is a Senior at Mississippi State University majoring in Business Management and minoring in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.