EMU Information / EMU Resources / October 8, 2014

You don’t have to be a Modern Major General to choose a major!

Choosing a major can be pretty nerve wracking, but fear not! There are tons of resources to help you out there for you. You can check out the Office of Advising and Career Devlopment, where they offer advising, help with selecting or changing a major, help with looking for a post graduation career and more. You can stop by 200 McKinney Hall for more information. Don’t forget to turn out for their special program: Fall Major Fest. It’s Monday Oct. 13 at 11 in the ballroom at the Student Center.

Before you go, it might be useful to start thinking about majors as early as possible.  There are lots of reasons to select one major over another, or sometimes the best path is to just choose both. A major is single best way to prepare for a career if you have a chosen a career path already. Majoring in fields like nursing and education can help you directly prepare for your chosen field, picking up specific skills and techniques you will need to be successful. But don’t discount the broader more general majors. Obviously most philosophy majors don’t go on to become town philosophers, but that doesn’t mean that the thinking skills learned or debate techniques acquired will go to waste. They can be used in a wide range of future careers, as they are skills that employers are looking for.

There are lots of concerns  to be aware of when looking at choosing a major, you may feel beset on all sides to choose one way or another. Don’t stress out! Here are six great tips from The Princeton Review about selecting a major to help you keep your cool.


Forget high school. College is a whole new ball game. Subjects you hated as a high school student might turn out to be completely different in a new educational setting. In other words, don’t automatically rule anything out, even if you don’t think it’s for you. Give everything at least a small chance. You never know until you’ve investigated…

Make the most of the general education courses you’re required to take. Don’t just pick whatever’s easiest; choose ones that appeal to you, even if they are upper–level courses. You don’t yet know what will really compel you. Have your radar on for clues that might be pointing you in new directions.

Talk to your advisors. They know what it takes to tackle certain academic disciplines. Tell them your strengths and your interests. They’ll be able to highlight courses that might excite you as well as classes that are popular with other students. A great class on nihilism may be the thing that gets you to declare a philosophy major.

Check the syllabus. What are the assignments? The books? The requirements? Does the material seem compelling to you? If you start nodding off while reading the course catalogue, perhaps it’s best to cross that field off your list.

Ask upperclassmen. They are the real experts at your college, and they have faced the daunting task of declaring a major themselves. Older students can tell you the questions they considered and how they went about finding the answers.

Engage professionals in fields you find interesting. Ask them exactly what their jobs entail and how their careers do (or don’t) relate to their majors. Learning about the paths others took to get where they are is often valuable and enlightening, and even more often, surprising.

The bottom line is that your major does not determine your life. You should choose a subject that interests you and that has some connection to the post–collegiate life you want to build for yourself. But keep the decision in perspective; you can always change careers or go back to school.

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