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Major and Career Exploration

In order to make satisfying major and career decisions you need to invest time and energy exploring your interests and abilities, discovering more about specific occupations, and exploring where potential majors can lead. In the end, you need to bring all of this information together in order to make the best personal decision - one that will lead you down a successful, satisfying life path.

Explore the following areas and investigate the resources listed. Meet with your academic advisor often to discuss your progress.

Self Knowledge

  • What activities do you enjoy doing?
  • What are your best personal qualities?  (If you don’t know, ask friends and family!)
  • What are your academic strengths and weaknesses?
  • What values do you want in your career, such as income, prestige, contribution to society, etc?  List at least 5.
  • What type of work environment do you picture yourself in five years out of college?
  • Why are you in college?
  • Take the Strong Interest Inventory, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or another interest inventory through Career Services, 22 Solon Campus Center.
  • Take the Personality Style Inventory or Skills Assessment available at http://careers.d.umn.edu/services/assessments.html

Educational Knowledge

  • What types of courses match your interests and abilities?
  • What majors are related to these courses?
  • Which UMD faculty members teach these courses/advise students with these majors?
  • How do the skills and knowledge within these majors relate to careers you are considering?
  • What courses are required for these majors?
  • Review the UMD Catalog http://www.d.umn.edu/catalogs/current/  Read course descriptions and relate interesting courses to potential majors.
  • Meet with faculty to discuss the academic field(s) you are exploring.
  • Explore printed texts in the Career Resource Center, 22 Solon Campus Center

Occupational Knowledge

  • What occupations would you like to explore?
  • Will these occupations provide the rewards and satisfaction you want for your life? Why?
  • What knowledge, training, and skills are needed for these occupations?
  • Conduct occupational interviews. Sample questions are available from Career Services.
  • Attend UMD Career Services' annual Job Fair in the spring.
  • Gain hands-on experience through internships, part-time employment, and volunteer experience.
  • Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Bringing it all together.

  • How do your skills and abilities match the majors and jobs you’ve identified?
  • What additional information do you require before deciding on your major?
  • How will you implement your major and/or career decision? 

Link to Additional Information on the Web

Iseek.Org www.iseek.org Minnesota based internet system for education and employment knowledge
MCIS http://mncis.intocareers.org (user name: umd; password: careerservices) MN Careers is a comprehensive career and educational planning guide to help Minnesotans of all ages explore their options. It includes an interest assessment worksheet, specific occupational details, and resources for career planning.
Occupational Outlook Handbook http://stats.bls.gov/oco The Occupational Outlook Handbook allows you to find career information by searching for specific occupations, clusters of similar occupations or by examining an alphabetical list of occupations.)
UMD Career Services http://careers.d.umn.edu/ Find information on major and career exploration resources on the UMD campus.
UMD major and minor requirements www.d.umn.edu/catalogs/programs