Students may feel pressured toward a specific major by other students, family, or even advisors. In these cases, students may make decisions without having a lot of information or even incorrect or misleading information. The role of academic advisors allows the opportunity to work with students to help them make informed decisions and be able to explore various perspectives.
Within the first year, students are encouraged to begin exploring their options to help them decide on a potential major. In addition, academic advisors are especially suited to help the student discuss the academic path. Questions which can help guide a student or at least help begin the conversation can include:
- Where do you see yourself working? What sort of environment may this include?
- Who do you wish for or with whom? What sort of industry may this include?
- Who do you believe will be your colleagues? Technical/vocational, teachers, medical personnel, sales/marketing?
If a student indicates a potential major, some follow-up questions might be beneficial.
- How did you make that decision?
- Why does the student want to pursue that major?
- What makes the major seem important to the student?
- What does the student plan to do with that major?
- What sort of skills or experiences would be expected for someone in that major?
Information regarding sample plans of study across the various majors can also be reviewed.
Along with the academic advisor, other campus resources such as Career Services or the Hawley Academic Resource Center can help the student explore potential majors. Students are also encouraged to speak with faculty members within the department which provides the major, family members or friends who may be currently employed in the industry involving the major, and perhaps even participating in a job shadow or observation experience related to the major of choice.