Career Services Office

Students & Alumni

Choosing a Major

          Decision-making within the career exploration process requires a personal knowledge of yourself and how you fit into the world of work. Talking with a Career Services counselor is often helpful because the counselor can help you understand what you are finding out about yourself, and can help you decide on appropriate next steps in the process.

However, the decision is yours to will decide what to do with your future.

Steps to choose a major

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What are your dreams?

  • If you can do or be anything in the world without worrying about education or money, what would you do or be?
  • What attracts you to this?
  • What is preventing you from fulfilling that dream?

What are your interests?

  • Take an interest inventory as part of the career exploration process.
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What do you enjoy reading, studying, and learning about?

What are your abilities?

  • What are you good at doing?
  • How are your abilities reflected in your academic courses?
  • What do your grades suggest about your abilities?
  • What are you most proud of achieving?
  • What abilities allowed you to achieve this?
  • What do your friends and family think you are good at doing?

What are your values?

  • If you had a million dollars, how would  you spend it?
  • What values does this suggest are important to you?

What experiences do you have?

  • What do you like about the jobs, activities, and volunteer experiences you have had?
  • What do you not like?


*Richard Bolles, author of "WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE?" has a section of his web site devoted to career and personality tests

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Helpful links

Academic Advisory - List of advisors & Contact info for each major

*For more information call 313-593-5090

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    • Counseling and support Services - has a battery of three career interest inventories which can be administered and interpreted for a nominal fee. Stop in 2157 UC or call 313-593-5430 for details

    • O*Net - Department of Labor source of updated occupational information and labor market research. Interactive skills-based database to describe worker attributes.

    • America`s Career INFONET - Find wages & employment trends, occupational requirements, state-by-state labor market conditions, missions of employer contacts & the most extensive career resources library online.

    • NACE Salary Calculator - Calculate what your potential income would be depending on your major


    • Job shadowing - Schedule an appointment with your career counselor to learn more about these techniques

    • inCircle - An online directory and networking tool connecting all branches of the University of Michigan family. This service is free to all students and alumni

    Gaining Experience

    • Part - time job opportunities - Apply and find out more information here

    • Volunteering - in your area of interest. Inquire about volunteer opportunities here under Volunteer Sites.

    • Student Organizations - Most majors have affiliated student organizations or students` chapters of professional organizations.

    • Summer Jobs/Part-time work - inquire about summer and part-time jobs in Career Services


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    Identify choices

    • Which Majors match my interest pattern?
    • Are these majors compatible with my personality style?
    • Are identified work values consistent with these majors interesting?
    • Are these majors consistent with my abilities?
    • Is the time it takes to complete the educational requirements acceptable to me?

    Taking action

    • Which major seems to be the best fit based on the previous steps?
    • Does the major need to be changed or does the projected plan of study need to be altered?
    • Are there internships or other ways to gain valuable experience in this area?

    Evaluating the decision

    • Are the classes enjoyable?
    • Are my grades improving or remaining at an acceptable level?
    • Has my motivation improved?


    FOCUS online

              FOCUS is a free online tool that can help you develop an accurate understanding of your personal strengths, needs, and preferences. Each of the core assessments will produce a list of occupations for you to explore. You will have the chance to explore as many, or as few, as you desire. As you look at each occupation, you will be asked questions about many of the details. FOCUS will summarize both the positive aspects and the potential problems associated with each occupation.

              It is recommended that students speak with a Career Services counselor before and after completing the career exploration inventories to ensure that students understand the results.

    Career Planning Class

              This one credit hour course will assist you in assessing your interests, temperament, skills and values. You will identify careers to explore and learn how to conduct informational interviews as well as research careers in-depth.Goal-setting will be focused on to assist you in keeping your planning in place after the class ends.

    Check out the Career Planning Class page for more information