Major and Career Exploration

Major Exploration

Declaring a major can be a complex decision, and feel like a big commitment, so it is wise to put a lot of intention into that decision. The intention is that through utilizing these tips and resources you will be able to declare a major with confidence and develop lifelong skills that can be used for exploring options in many situations. 

Here are some common stages of exploration that students identify with. It is important to remember that these are generalized stages and everybody's journey is unique. For the best guidance make sure to meet with your advisor one-on-one to determine the best individualized plan for you. 

Here are tips and strategies within the main areas of academic and career exploration. The goal of these strategies and resources are to help develop your unique Identity, further your Academic and Career exploration, as well as develop your Decision Making and Goal Setting strategies in order to determine the most fulfilling majors and careers for you. 

Once you have narrowed down your major options. Schedule a meeting with a chair or an academic advisor to get a better sense of your path. In these meetings you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the major, career opportunities, the department and the faculty.

Here are some questions to ask an academic advisor or department chair:

  • Are there any faculty members/courses that specifically address my interests?
  • What’s rewarding about this field? What are the challenges?
  • If this major requires me to have a concentration or emphasis, how should I choose?
  • How flexible is the major with substituting or taking alternative courses?
  • How interactive are the courses for the major? (Faculty-to-student ratio, fieldwork and internship opportunities, etc.)
  • What is networking like in this major? How do students engage with the community?
  • What kinds of career opportunities are there with this major?
  • Who else should I talk to?

Take courses that are interesting to you. Choose your General Education (GE) courses carefully, as they can help you gain insight into majors that meet your interest.

For more tips see the "Major Exploration Guide" under "Exploration Resources".


Declaring a Major

When you have decided on a new major you will need to complete a Major Change form. The form is available at the Office of the Registrar (Student Business Services Building 133) or online (http://pine.humboldt.edu/registrar/forms/).

When the form is completed and submitted back to the Office of the Registrar, the change will be made in the campus student database and a faculty member from that department will be assigned to serve as your academic advisor. Congratulations! You have chosen a major!

By gaining a true understanding on who you are, conducting research into the most promising possibilities, trusting your own experiences, using your best judgment and making a meaningful commitment to the decision, you have become the planner, and architect of your life.

Career Exploration

There are many factors when looking for a career, so finding a handful of options that suit your interest is a good idea. Once you have figured out which careers might have the greatest potential, you can trust your own direct experiences to guide you, and consider the following to clarify your perspective:

  • Figure out if anyone you know has experience in the field or if they have connections to the field
  • Set up informational interviews to answer any questions you may have
  • Find someone you can shadow
  • Do an internship in the field
  • Visit an organization that specializes in your interest

The Academic and Career Advising Center provides opportunities and resources for you to explore, experience and “try on” potential careers, including information interviews, volunteering, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships. HSU Handshake is a great source for searching jobs in your careers of interest. The Occupational Outlook Handbook by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good resource for statistical data.