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Major Exploration and Self Assessment

From choosing a major to volunteering or participating in a campus club, there are many things you can do at Saint Louis University to get to know yourself and discover a career path that interests you.

Major Exploration

Some students start college knowing what they want to major in. Others want to try a variety of areas before deciding. There are many considerations, and it is normal to have questions. This section will help you evaluate your options. Remember to consult with your academic advisor regarding requirements.

Follow the advice below, take the SLU Majors Quiz, and discover important information by major. Find out what fields a major applies to, learn which employers seek those majors and gain strategies you can use to be successful in your field.

Assess Yourself

  • What do you enjoy? Consider classes and activities you liked and excelled at in the past. What did they involve? Why did you enjoy them?
  • What are you good at? Identify your skills and abilities. What types of things do you seem to do well? Are they technical? Intellectual? Creative?
  • What is important to you? Consider your values. Is enjoying your work more important than prestige? Is creativity more important than security?
  • How do you work? Do you prefer working one-on-one or in groups? Do you make logical decisions or follow intuition? Your personality can influence the nature of the work and majors you may prefer.

Gather Information About Majors

  • Do some fact-finding. Read through the major descriptions on the web and in the Academic Catalog. Study course descriptions and try those that sound interesting.
  • Ask the experts. Attend the major meetings held each semester, meet with department chairs, your advisor, the Career Services coordinator, faculty, upperclassmen and alumni to discuss majors and career paths.

Explore Your Options

  • Learn from others. Through Career Services, reach out to alumni in your fields of interest.
  • Sample majors. Enroll in courses from possible majors during your first two years while fulfilling core requirements.
  • Immerse yourself. Attend relevant campus lectures. Go to Career Services seminars, including alumni panels.
  • Explore careers and industries. Discover what jobs match with your skills and personality, browse careers by industry and obtain general information about various sectors.

Evaluate and Decide

  • Review. Consider what you have learned from self-assessment and research.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. If you haven’t, narrow it down to two or three options.

Self-Assessment

By reflecting on your values, interests, personality traits and skills (VIPS), you gain insight that can help you uncover your optimal career path and work environment.

For those who would like further assessment, Career Services offers the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and the Strong Interest Inventory. Contact Patrice Burns at patrice.burns@slu.edu for further information.

Values

Values are a set of principles that motivate every decision you make. Values come from a variety of sources, including family, personal experiences and cultural context. Clarifying your values and understanding how they connect to various work environments will help you identify meaningful work.

Values exercise

Interests

Consider the variety of interests you have, including academic, professional and leisure. What do you like to do for fun? What was your favorite summer job or volunteer activity? What classes do you seek out for electives? All of these considerations may be relevant when considering potential careers.

Career and majors interest game

Personality

Personality refers to your natural traits, including the way you like to gather information, make decisions, work with others, and organize your daily life. They also have a favorite way of organizing information and making decisions. When you understand your personality, you can make career decisions that suit you.

Skills

Many of the skills you have acquired throughout your life – from jobs, internships, classes, hobbies, volunteer experiences, sports, almost anything – are transferable to the world of work. Understanding and articulating your skills is an essential part of developing a career plan, writing cover letters, and interviewing with employers. The following exercise will help you recognize your transferable skills.

Explore these exercises (Georgetown University and Princeton):

Other Influences: People, Places, Experiences

Outside factors can also influence your career decisions. Taking the time to understand how you've been influenced by family, friends, learning and volunteer experiences, teachers, cultural context, and more can lead to greater self-awareness. Considering the environment in which you were raised can also provide clues about what is most important to you and why.

Family Influences Exercise (Georgetown University)