Choosing a Major

Many students feel pressure to choose a major that will "get them a good job."  While it's true that some majors have a direct connection to certain career paths, the reality is that most career paths can be pursued by someone with any particular academic major, and most majors give students a wide variety of career paths they can pursue.  There can be a lot of benefit to exploring different majors that interest you, and at Valpo it is usually fairly easy to double-major or add a minor(s) to give your program of study a bit more variety.  

It is also perfectly normal, and extremely common, for students to change majors at some point during their academic career at Valpo. Your best bet is to major in something that interests you, and gives you a good chance to succeed academically.  Below are a handful of resources that may help you get started with the process of selecting a major.

  • Assessments: The Career Center offers several assessments, including the Strong Interest Inventory, that may help you discern where your interests lie, and what majors make be most enjoyable to you.
  • Coursework: You may want to take a class or two in a few different areas that interest you.  Speak with your academic advisor to see how you might be able to work some purely exploratory courses into your schedule.
  • Talk to people: It can be extremely helpful to chat with students (particularly upperclassmen) from the different majors you are considering, to get some "insider info" on that particular program of study.  Professors are also excellent sources of information about their academic department, and may be able to give you good advice as you explore.
  • WCIDWAMI:  a.k.a "What Can I Do with a Major In...?" handouts.  These info sheets are designed to give you a brief overview of some common career paths related to different majors here at Valpo. *Keep in mind - this is just a small sample of career fields related to each major; there are countless other possibilities you can explore as well.

Timeline for Choosing a Major

It is a great idea to start thinking about what you might want to major in before you get to college, so you've at least got a list of possibilities to explore and discuss with faculty and advisors. At the latest, you'll need to select a major by the end of your sophomore year, which will give you an opportunity to do internships and "test drive" career options as an upperclassman.

You may even decide after your sophomore year that you want to change majors - this is certainly OK, even if it might add an additional year to your coursework.  It is usually best to figure this out while you're in school, rather than afterward.