Step 3: Narrow Your Focus

Now that you have assessed your interests, skills/abilities, and values, and explored possible majors and associated career options, the next step is to further narrow your focus down to two or three majors you are seriously considering.

At this point, you will want to learn more specific information about each of these majors.  The following steps can help you in this process:

  • Enroll in courses that introduce you to the major(s).
  • Speak to current students in the major.
  • Review the criteria to declare each of your possible majors.
  • Meet with your CCAS Academic Advisor who can partner with you to evaluate the information you have collected, assist you in weighing the pros and cons of each option, and answer your questions. Your advisor can also provide you with a “what if” scenario on DegreeMAP for any major you are considering.
  • Be sure the major(s) you are considering fit your academic strengths and abilities.
  • If you have multiple interests, determine if you can address them by declaring a major and a minor, or a double major.
  • Make it your goal to successfully transition into your major no later than the end of your sophomore year.

Additionally, the best way to learn about a major is to speak with undergraduate faculty advisors in that department.  You can find out who the faculty advisor is for any department by asking your CCAS professional academic advisor or stopping by the department.  Then, make an appointment to meet with the faculty advisor or stop by his or her office hours.  Take time to dig deeper using the following questions:

  • Where have graduates of your program gone? What specific organizations have hired them and for what positions? Do any of these areas represent a good fit for my own needs and goals?
  • What specific prerequisites are required for admission to this major? Is there a GPA requirement? What is the declaration process?
  • What courses and experiences are required to complete this major? Are there internship or practicum requirements? How about research opportunities? Does the department offer a listserv that I can join?
  • Which courses have I already taken that will apply to this major? Toward breadth requirements? What further coursework will be required?
  • What other programs does the department offer? Minors?  Which of these options best fits my needs?
  • What skills and competencies will I develop through this major?
  • What might I dislike about this major?
  • What do my strengths need to be to do well in this major?
  • What is the department’s typical class size?