Choosing a major
There are those who decided they’d be pre-med in the fifth grade. Then there are the rest of us. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about deciding on a major, we’re here to help. With some guided discovery and reflection, you can learn how to connect your interests and talents to a major and a career.
Ask yourself these questions
- What classes do I enjoy?
- What are my interests?
- What skills do I have?
- What skills would I like to learn?
- Do I have a career in mind?
- Will this potential major allow me to add value to the career I have in mind?
Use these tools
Whether you’re exploring majors or searching for information about your chosen field, What Can I Do With This Major will help you connect majors to careers. Learn about typical career areas and types of employers that hire people with each major, as well as strategies to help you get hired.
Visit the What Can I Do With This Major site to get started. You must access this platform from the VCU Career Services website as it is a paid resource for VCU students and alumni.
The Gap Analysis is most useful for:
- Finding jobs that you are qualified for or will be qualified for upon graduation
- Recognizing what the minimum and desired qualifications are for positions in your industry
- Reflecting on skills you can build to help your candidacy for positions
- Search and find 3 job announcements/postings that you see yourself applying for upon graduation from your degree program (or after your next graduate degree). Don’t choose jobs that require 10 years of experience, for example. Handshake, Linkup.com, Indeed.com
- Print the job descriptions out.
- Highlight all of the minimum qualifications and the “desired” qualifications on the job posting. Also make note of the main job responsibilities of the position.
- Make a Google Sheet. On that sheet create a list of the required/desired qualifications directly from the job posting in the first column. On the second column, write examples of how you can currently demonstrate that you can do each requirement/qualification based on something in your educational/volunteer/work experience. Given that you may have time left in your academic career, you can create a third column as well, writing how you will demonstrate that you will fulfill each requirement/qualification upon graduation. This third column in some ways is your future to-do list. If you cannot identify an example, leave that space blank.
- HINT: If you want to find learning outcomes specific to your degree, utilize the VCU Bulletin Archive section. You can search by your specific school and program, and then search your degree. This will show a list of learning outcomes for your degree. This quick tutorial (https://youtu.be/gjtZKp63d00) shows an example of how to find this information on your own.
Things to think about:
- How well did you demonstrate proficiency for the jobs you found?
- Would the Human Resources rep or Hiring Manager hire you with your current experience? If not, where are the gaps in your experience and what do you want to do to fill them?
- Who is someone that can help you achieve these goals or point you to a valuable resource?
- How can you apply this to your job search process or career and professional decisions?
Check out our Gap Analysis to get started.