Major Exploration Guide

Your Decision-Making Style

Choosing a major can be a tough decision. One thing that makes it easier is to know your decision-making style – what will this process be like for you?

Q: What kind of decision-maker are you? Why is that important?

A: If you know how you make your best decisions, you can employ those tools to help you find the right major. If you tend to go with your gut and your gut has proven trustworthy, it may not make sense for you to start overthinking the decision. If you love pro/con lists, sharpen a pencil and get started; in your case, logic may trump feelings.

If you are a go-with-your-gut type (Spontaneous)     

Go to an information session and/or talk to an advisor. What do you feel about what you’re hearing? Does it sound exciting, interesting, or like “a good fit” for you? How does it feel to think of yourself as someone who is a part of this department?

Declare a front-runner (or two, or three, as majors or minors). How does it feel when you tell people your major? Does it feel like you and your major are a good “match?” What kinds of responses do you get, and do you like those responses?

Ask to be added to listservs for majors you’re considering and then reflect on the emails you’re getting. Do the opportunities and resources interest you?

If you are a go-with-your-head type (Systematic)

Identify your goals (e.g., a major that trains you for a specific career; a major that keeps lots of doors open; a major heavy in math and logic).

Once you know what you want, identify your alternatives from the list of options. Explore your alternatives, using our Top 10 Questions or your own.

Pick the best major based on your preliminary exploration. Check to make sure the major is what you intend for it to be by using your own fact-checking and asking academic advisors.

Select your strongest option and declare it. Keep in mind that if it’s not the right choice after all, you’ve already identified alternates as back-ups.

Not sure of your decision-making style?

Think on big decisions you’ve made in your life (e.g., where to attend college, who to date, where to work). What kind of decision-making strategies did you use? Were those the right strategies for you?


NEXT: The Importance of Career Planning

Major Exploration