Major Exploration Guide

Major Exploration and Self Exploration

Understanding your interests, abilities, and skills is central to the major exploration process. Why are you pursuing a college degree? Take time to reflect on the questions below:

  • What conversations did you have with family members about coming to college?
  • What factors influenced your decision to come to college and the University of Arizona?
  • What is your family’s history with higher education? Who in your family went to college?
  • What are you family’s expectations of you going to college? What do you think they want you to get out of this experience?
  • What are you expectations of going to college? What do you think you are going to get out of this experience?
  • Where do you think you are in the major exploration process?
  • What is getting in the way of making a decision related to your major?

Keep in mind the evolution of higher education and development of majors. You can find information on that here!

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?

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

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.


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?


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.


Think about 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?


Major Exploration