Student Success & Academic Advising Center

How to Explore Majors & Careers

Helpful Steps in Exploring & Deciding on a Major

Self-Knowledge

1)  Do a free on-line assessment to help you better understand your values, interests, skills and personality traits.
Make sure you have access to a printer to print your results as these sites do not allow you to store your information.

2)  Reflective Questions reveal critical information regarding your values, interests and skills.
Examples include:

a. Would you rather have more free time and earn less money or earn more money and have less free time?

b. What activities leave you energized?

c. What topics of conversation grab your attention?

d. Where have you received awards or recognitions?

e. What comes naturally to you but is difficult for others?

3)  Mirroring Exercise: Some of the best advice regarding majors and careers is given by students’ friends, mentors and former teachers. You should seek out feedback from important people in your life. This exercise works best when you develop questions prior to the interview.

4)  Describe in a journal, or illustrate a vision, of who you are, what you hope to accomplish, your ideal work environment or your “dream job.” Occupational daydreaming utilizes right brain activity and can be a powerful tool in harnessing students’ goals.

5)  Web resources are available to help you better understand academic and career information. Some favorites are:

  • http://whatcanidowiththismajor.com/major  This is a website where you can explore multiple majors or search for information about your chosen field.  This site can has information about the typical career areas and the types of employers that hire people with each major, along with strategies to make you more marketable as you apply for jobs.
  • http://mymajors.com  This is an on-line assessment that matches interests and strengths and suggests majors that may be a good fit.  Click on “Take the short college major quiz” to access this assessment.
  • http://MyRoad.com  This is College Board’s college and career planning website.  You must create a free login-in to access the information on this website.
  • http://www.Princetonreview.com/majors.aspx  The Princeton Review’s website offers access to a wide variety of educational information.
  • http://www.worldwidelearn.com/online-education-guide/index.html  This site allows students to explore their college major, research areas of study that are of interest, and discover online degree programs and career paths.

6)  Connect majors you like to potential careers by visiting these websites:

http://www.career.fsu.edu/occupations/matchmajor/

http://www.udel.edu/CSC/mrk.html

http://www.k-state.edu/acic/majorin/

7)  Review the list of majors offered at Missouri Western State University.  Identify programs of interest, cross off the majors you know you do not want, and further explore news areas for consideration. This is simple, but very effective!

8)  The Missouri Western Bookstore can be a great way for you to explore what the coursework in a particular major is about without having to register for lots of courses. Consider going to the bookstore and reviewing the textbooks affiliated with a particular major.

9)  With your advisor’s assistance, get permission to sit in for a day on an upper-division course in a particular major, and then set-up a follow-up conversation with the instructor.

Occupational Knowledge:

1)  Visit the Road Trip Nation website if you are searching for inspiration from others who have set out on a quest to find their passion and purpose at: www.roadtripnation.com.

2)  Conduct your own informational interviews with alumni of Missouri Western State University or individuals who are working in a field of interest. Develop interview questions, wear proper attire, and conduct yourself with proper interview behavior.

3)  Help “define your focus” by participating in internships, part-time jobs in potential interest areas, and job shadowing experiences.

4)  Review the Occupational Outlook Handbook website www.bls.gov/oco/  for the latest career information including: training and education requirements, earnings, working conditions and projected job openings for literally hundreds of occupations.

5)  Visit http://online.onetcenter.org/. The O*NET system serves as the nation’s primary source of occupational information, providing comprehensive information on key attributes and characteristics of workers and occupations.

For questions contact:

Elaine Bryant – Director, Student Success Center – bryant@missouriwestern.edu
Eder 209.  Phone:  816.271.5636

Cathy Gann – Academic Advisor – gann@missouriwestern.edu
Eder 209.  Phone:  816.271.5621

Derek Evans – Academic Advisor – devans4@missouriwestern.edu
Eder 209.  Phone:  816.271.5993

Michelle Holtman – Academic Advisor – mholtman@missouriwestern.edu
Eder 209.  Phone:  816.271.5992

Adapted from NACADA for Missouri Western State University

Last revised 3/3/14