Self-Help Materials: Selecting a Major

There are no specific guidelines for selecting a major.  It involves many individualized and personal choices.  It requires time, information, and commitment. 


By selecting a major, you can coordinate your class schedule in order to allow you to graduate in the least amount of time.  You can take advantage of internships and other activities in college to expand your knowledge of opportunities that exist in your chosen career field. 


Since this process is not an exact science, you may decide to change your major.  Studies have shown that 50% of first-year students are not sure what area to select for a major.  Many freshmen, who think they are sure of their major selection, end up changing their major.  Moreover, approximately 50% of all college students change majors or minors at some point. 


Visit your academic advisor to determine what steps need to be taken to formally change your major.  Be aware that obtaining prerequisites for a new major can delay your graduation date.  Consider other options such as a double major or just adding a minor.  A student can potentially have a major only, a double major, a major and a minor, or a major and two minors.  Here are some tips on gathering needed information to make your decision:


  1. Create a list of topics/careers that interest you.  How do you like to spend your free time?
  2. Determine the requirements for a major.  Look in the college's course catalog and visit your academic advisor.
  3. Take courses that interest you.
  4. Talk to employers and employees in areas that interest you.  The Alumni Office may be able to assist you in making contacts.  Search the internet and yellow pages.  Visit with professors who teach courses in that area of interest.
  5. Get "real-life experience" by volunteering or by obtaining a work-study or internship.
  6. Take an interest and/or aptitude exam.  Gain insight about your personality and skills, strengths and weaknesses.  The Psychological Counseling Services Office provides this type of assessment.

If you need further information, please contact Psychological Counseling Services by telephone at (304) 788-6976, email at, or simply stop by the office located on the base floor of the Health Center.