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Choosing Your Major September 2013


How do I know that my student is in the right major?

A Big Decision

"We had a freshman come into our office whose parents were engineers. And he did not want to major in engineering," Pat Weaver, Director of Career Exploration, remembered. "But he took our assessment, went through our process to find his strengths, and lo and behold, he decided to become an engineer!" Pat laughed at the memory and recalled the student giving her a hug on the way out.

"It's that self-discovery piece," Weaver explained. "We offer students an opportunity to discover who they are and what major fits best into their interests and their values."

Pat and her colleagues in the Office of Career and Professional Development in the Paul L. Foster Success Center could tell many stories like that one. Or, stories like the student who wanted to major in engineering -- but then told Pat that he hated math. Engineering probably wasn't the best fit for that student, but they helped him find the major that was.

You don't need convincing that choosing the right major, sooner rather than later in your student's college experience, can save your money and their time. There are also the long-lasting implications for a student's career and calling in life.


Career Exploration in the Office of Career and Professional Development offers resources to help your student find the right major. Using both testing and personal interaction with your student, your child can develop a clearer picture of who they are, a better sense of their goals and an understanding of the steps required to get where they want to be.

"We work with students individually when they come to us," Weaver said. "We do individual career counseling to help guide them to a major that fits." The process involves a number of steps, which Weaver explains:


"We focus on the student -- their strengths, their values, what they've been thinking about. We work with students to figure out, 'Who am I?'"


"We use two assessments -- Myers Briggs Type Indicator®, a personality inventory, and Strong Interest Inventory®."


"We meet with the student individually twice, and the assessments are interpreted in a group setting.


"The assessments create a list of possibilities to explore, and we teach them how to use our website to research those possibilities. We utilize resources to give hardcore facts about careers -- what skills they take, what education you need, salary ranges and the job outlook through 2020. It allows them to examine their values and expectations and see what fits."

Individual Analysis

"Finally, they come back individually and visit with a career counselor with a "top three" list the student has compiled. We help them develop a plan of action. What are the next steps needed to narrow their focus? Maybe it's taking a class or job shadowing. We also sometimes have them meet with a professor in the area of interest. Our goal is to help recognize who they are and make the decision they want, not one somebody else wants."


In addition to the career counseling process, students can also find resources on the Career and Professional Development web page to peruse on their own time, like a year-by-year guide to career planning, and a "Meet the Majors" podcast series featuring podcasts with faculty from the different major options for students.


Another tremendous resource for students looking to pick a major is the Majors Fair on Tuesday, October 8. Faculty representatives from Baylor's various majors will be on hand to talk to students, answer their questions, and offer advice. The majors fair is a comprehensive event designed to help students conveniently explore a number of options that interest them, and to talk to faculty without needing to schedule an appointment.

Encourage your student to grab a Dr Pepper float and attend the Majors Fair Tuesday October 8 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Bill Daniel Student Center.