Here are some tips from Dr. Pamela Forman, associate professor and chair of the UW-Eau Claire sociology department, and Josh Engle, academic adviser in the College of Business' Center for Advising, Development and Enrichment (CADE), about how to find information and choose a career path.
Q: What if you have no idea what to major in?
Pamela Forman: My first words of advice for students are to dream big. If students are having trouble deciding, undeclared advisers are very helpful. Career Services has inventory tests to help students choose. I would recommend that students take a wide array of courses and see which ones they like the most. It also helps to go to professors' office hours and learn more about their field of study. Talk to people, whether it be professors, peer advisers or fellow classmates. Students often come in with a certain idea of what they want to do, but take a class that really interests them and change their mind.
Josh Engle: It’s OK to be uncertain. Most students are in their first year. It’s good to begin your career search by meeting with Career Services, arrange a job shadow with people in the field you’re interested in pursuing and talk with professors. Immersing yourself in the fields you’re interested in by talking with people and gaining some experience is a great way to find a path toward a major.
Q: What it you can’t decide between two majors?
Pamela Forman: If you’re stuck between two majors, pick one as a major and the other as minor. You can take a lot of the core classes for both, so it is easier to switch if you decide to do that at some point. Most of the time, it doesn’t make sense to double major. In the end, you want to pick one to focus on. When it comes down to a job interview and they ask why you minored in a certain subject, you can still say you took a number of courses in the subject and have been trained in that field.
Josh Engle: I have had students who’ve found ways of combining a double major into a specific potential career. Other times, students come to me with this dilemma and they often find that one major is more of a personal interest, whereas the other would fit more as a career option. So they end up choosing one major and then taking courses in the other area, perhaps as a minor, or to fulfill specific GE requirements, if they can. Students may choose a minor to enhance their potential career. But ask friends, family, people in the industry. Look for high-impact practices, such as job shadowing or interning, to see if you’d actually be interested in a career field. My biggest piece of advice would be to talk with your adviser. They often have great advice for finding a career path.