Choosing a major and interest testing

Choosing a major

A state of discovery
During your first year in college, it is perfectly acceptable to be a deciding student, one who is in the process of choosing a major. Your major becomes a very important aspect of your identity while in college and it shouldn't be taken lightly. Being open to possibilities allows you to explore a variety of subjects and interests and choose an area of study that is most right for you. After all, having a breadth of knowledge in a variety of areas is what a liberal arts education is all about!

You're not alone
As a student open to possibilities, you are not alone. A significant percentage of incoming college freshmen don't know in what they are going to major, and some studies report that as many as 80% of students will change their minds about their major at least once before graduation. These statistics may be comforting, but they still do not help in answering the questions, "What can the Office of Career Services do to help?"

Here are some of the programs and services we offer to help you make this important decision:

Individual Counseling: Make an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your options. They can guide you through a journey of discovering your interests, likes, goals, and preferences and discuss with you how these influence your major.
Personality and Interest Assessments: These inventories can provide information about your interests and personality characteristics and usually prove helpful when it comes to choosing a major or making career decisions. It is a two-step process in which you will first meet with your counselor to discuss the test and have a second meeting for the interpretation of your responses. Information usually learned from the results includes majors, campus and professional activities, and occupations that you may want to review more closely based on your personality and interests.  
Career Library:
The career library contains hundreds of resources that can provide you with information and tips about college majors and career fields linked to those majors.     
What Can I Do with This Major?: This website helps to connect your major with typical career paths associated with that area of study. Though not a comprehensive list of careers, it will serve as a great representation of opportunities within each area.

Tips on choosing a major

  1. Use your General Education Requirements to your advantage.  Take time to explore and take courses in possible areas of interest. Ask yourself these questions: How do you feel in those classes? What subject areas do you find most interesting?
  2. Review the course catalog given to you during your first year.  If you do not have one, visit the academic records website or office. There is also one on file in the Career Services Library.



    • Look at the list of available majors and concentrations. Remove from consideration the majors in which you have absolutely no interest. Do not exclude a major simply because you are unfamiliar with the subject area.
    • Read the course descriptions for the majors that interest you or of which you need more information and highlight those classes of interest.
    • Are there majors with more classes highlighted than others? Explore those majors more closely.
  3. Speak with your academic adviser and a career counselor.  They are trained to assist you in making this decision and can offer insight and direction to programs that may interest you or professors with whom you should speak.
  4. Ask yourself these questions:
    • What was my favorite subject in high school?
    • What kinds of classes come naturally for me?
    • Is graduate school a possibility?
    • Have teachers, friends, or family members encouraged me to look at certain majors because of something they know about me?
    • What subjects would I explore or learn more about during my four years at Furman if they were not for class credit? 
  5. Attend the Majors meeting and other events hosted by the departments that interest you and speak with the professors of the major. 
    Professors and students in the major can give more detailed information about the department, course requirements, workload, and opportunities. Ask yourself:
    • Do you have anything in common with the majors in the department? 
    • Do you find their research, concentrations, and/or professional work to be interesting?
    • Do you connect with the professors
  6. Explore/investigate different career fields through informational interviewing, Career Services programs, and Career Library resources.  
  7. Don't be afraid to choose.   As long as you have followed the guidelines presented here and taken the time to meet with a career counselor and your academic adviser, you will be better prepared to make this decision than you actually give yourself credit. Trust your judgment!
Endless possibilities
Remember, your major does not necessarily dictate or limit your career choices. In fact, many people have successful and satisfying careers that are completely unrelated to their undergraduate major. You have four years to prepare yourself for almost any career (more if you attend graduate school) by taking advantage of internships and non-major coursework.

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