SOME MYTHS ABOUT CHOOSING A MAJOR
Myth: Choosing a major and a career are basically the same thing
Fact: Choosing a major and deciding on a career are two separate decisions. In most cases, your skills, experience, and your demonstrated academic success are far more important than your actual major. Complement your major coursework with internships, coursework in a particular area of interest, volunteer work, independent research, study abroad, etc. These experiences will help to fine-tune your career interests and help you prepare for the first step following graduation.
Myth: Somewhere there is a test or an expert that can tell me what to do for the rest of my life
Career interest inventories and personality inventories can help you to clarify your skills, interest, values, and preferences for work and indicate some career areas to consider, but that’s all. The answers are inside of you – don’t be fooled into thinking that a “test” knows what is best for you better than you do.
Myth: People with liberal arts majors don’t get jobs – you better specialize if you want a job
Increasingly, people with liberal arts majors are finding jobs in business, government, and industry. Recruiters find that the breadth of the liberal arts major provides a student with flexibility, critical thinking skills, and a willingness to learn. If this is a concern for you, speak with your faculty advisor or look at departmental websites for further information about future careers.
Myth: The major I choose now will determine my lifelong career
Studies have shown that within ten years after graduation most people are working in careers that are not directly connected to their undergraduate majors. People change and careers change. New types of jobs emerge every year and most of us have no idea what those jobs will be and what education/training will be required. Because of this, the emphasis should be on developing transferable skills (e.g., writing, communication, technical, problem-solving, interpersonal) that employers want and that graduates will need in order to adjust to rapidly changing careers.