Back to school: Tips to helping students choose a major

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - As college classes commence this week, many students begin selecting an academic major. This decision hopefully equates to a successful career after graduation. At the University of Arizona, about 13% of students have an undeclared or undecided major. This can make both students and their parents overwhelmed about the future. Here are some tips to help new students choose their major.

You're not alone
Associate Director of Career Education, Mary Frances Kuper believes the first step for students is realizing they are not alone in this process. Kuper says, "I think a lot of students really feel that pressure when they come that they have to declare a major. One thing that I always say is looking at the national statistics, students are going to change their major about four to five times. They may have done that already at orientation. Students should take comfort in knowing if they are undeclared or if they're looking to switch that they're in good company."

Look at your values
Next, Kuper recommends students think about their life values. Kuper reminds students that major does not equal destiny. She suggests students think about what they value, what things energize them, what are they excited about, and where do they feel they can make an impact.

Focus on skills
Kuper suggests focusing less on a degree, and instead focusing more on skills obtained within the degree. Kuper says students of this generation can expect to have six different careers over their lifetime. While a major will give students a deep knowledge in a particular field, transferable skills are equally important. Skills important to employers include leadership experience, communication skills, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Passion is important
While students prioritize their values differently, 'passion for their major' was consistently found to be a priority and important value among all students interviewed. 

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