Five Steps to Finding Your Major or Career Path

Let’s be frank, finding a major and a career can be a pretty big task to handle. Some people just know right off the bat what they want to be, and others need a bit more time to figure everything out. Wherever you may be in your life, it’s never too late to discover what major and career is best for you. For those who are looking for some direction in their search, here are some tips to get the ball rolling!

1. Search Online
The internet is full of good resources that provide information on careers and majors of all sorts. O*Net is an awesome website for learning information about different careers. Seeing all those careers may be a bit overwhelming, so the “My Next Move” page is a good starting point for someone who doesn’t know where to start in their search. Similarly, majors.missouri.edu is good for seeing all the majors that MU has to offer with a thorough description for each one. The website’s features include searching for majors by interests or searching by careers to see which majors are applicable.

2. Meet with an Adviser
Sometimes talking with an experienced person one-on-one can really help guide thoughts on selecting a major. MU’s Academic Exploration and Advising Services provides this kind of help for students in certain situations. If you’re an undeclared student in the College of Arts and Science, Pre-Communications, Pre-Journalism or just considering a change in major, the Discovery Center can assist you. Schedule an advising appointment by calling 573-884-9700.

3. Volunteer, Shadow and Intern
One of the best ways to understand a career is to actually be immersed in that work environment. Be on the lookout for opportunities to volunteer or intern to get a feel for what jobs in certain fields are like. Visit Hire Mizzou Tigers or LinkedIn to find some of these opportunities. Be open to volunteering or interning not only during the summer, but during the fall and spring as well when they’re less competitive.

4. Ask Others
What better way to learn about a career or major than to ask someone who already has experience? Find out what your friends enjoy about classes in their major, what they dislike and what they hope to do with a degree in that area. Or, try getting to know what a career is like by asking people you know about their career field. These people can be family members, friends, professors and others. Find out things like what tasks do they do, how long a typical work day is and what their work environment looks like. You can even get in contact with people outside of your network to understand the work they do. Try sending these professionals a message on LinkedIn or an email explaining that you’re interested in learning more about their kind of career. MU Alumni can be some of the best people to contact in this situation.

5. Take an Assessment
Anyone looking for more direct answers might take a self-assessment to get more answers on which careers or majors best fit them. The Self Directed Search is offered at the MU Career Center for $15 and allows students to assess their interests, abilities and skills to compare it to the best work environments for them. Students can also take the Missouri Occupational Card Sort assessment for free. This looks at a students’ likes and dislikes (for either majors or careers) to get an understanding of what areas are best for them. Keep in mind, these assessments can’t choose a major for students, but they certainly offer great suggestions to consider.

Bonus: Consider a Getting a Minor
Getting a minor may seem like extra time or money, but it’s considerably easy to get a minor at Mizzou. Throughout your coursework, you’ll be asked to take additional classes in Humanities, Social Sciences and other areas that may be outside of your major. If you find yourself interested in a subject and taking a lot of classes in the same department, it might be beneficial to consider declaring a minor. See the Minors page on theMU Advising website for more information.