Choosing or Changing A Major
It’s common for student to express new interests and change academic pursuits during sophomore year. While there are career paths that require specific degrees there are many professions
for which there is no prescribed path. According to a study done by the New York Times, most students graduate with a higher GPA if they study something they are passionate about! These students are more likely to graduate in 4 years as well as get the chance
to develop an expertise in something if they are deeply interested in it. They are more likely to seek out faculty or other experts to help them along the way, do meaningful research, and apply for internships that may lead to employment.
Luckily, there are many resources available
your son or daughter
in this decision-making process. Here are a few helpful tips and links that you and your student can use to navigate
the path to the right
Encourage your student to think about what he or she is really interested in. Have they taken a class that was academically stimulating? Have they attended a seminar, workshop or event on campus that
piqued their interest? Self-evaluation is an important part of this process. Ask your student what truly interests them—as this can significantly impact the major they choose. Have your student think about what will make them most happy in life, from many
different perspectives- family, culture, financial, and their desired future lifestyle.
- Encourage your student to stop by the
Career Center and take an Interest Inventory, for free!
Interest inventories can be a great tool to measure academic strengths and interests in activities and occupations. A career counselor will administer the interest inventory and will assist your student in understanding their specific results. This process
can help students become focused on specific career interests.
- Have your student meet with their Academic Advisor. All students on campus have
primary Academic Advisors in their specific college. Academic Advisors are prepared to assist their students with navigating the major exploration process.
- Encourage your student to ‘test-drive’ a major by taking a few courses offered through different
Have your student speak to upperclassmen that are already declared in the major they may be interested in—this can help students understand what the coursework and major requirements will be. By taking classes that they are interested in, your student can
get a feel for what the major is like, and if it may be the right fit.
As parents, this means there will be lots of changes in your student’s future. Take time now to engage in open conversation with your son or daughter. Listen closely to what prompted
interest in this major; take time to learn what is inspiring learning with your son or daughter;
investigate how this new major fits with your student’s personality, values, and character; encourage your student to participate in an internship in this new field or to talk with an alum with a similar degree.
Career Center Resources
— Career Counselors are on campus and ready to assist your students in their decision-making process, decisions both big and small!
Villanova School of Business Student Resources, available through the Clay Center.
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Student Resources, available through the Office For Undergraduate Students (OUS).
College of Engineering Student Resources
College of Nursing Student Resources