Some Suggestions for Choosing A Major
Be an active participant in your education.
Employers want to hire people who can think, communicate, and write (selling points of liberal arts majors!). What will make you marketable in the future? Literature courses develop communication, philosophy and psychology classes increase problem-solving skills, courses in public speaking, computers, marketing, and foreign languages prepare you for nearly any eventuality.
Look for summer internships or volunteer opportunities.
See what you like or don't like before committing to a major. Check out Jobweb and Internship Programs.
Take a variety of courses. Include something new every quarter.
Come on! Be curious. Every course adds to your graduation hours and may open doors you didn't expect. You may be surprised when anthropology turns out to be your favorite class.
Choose a major you love.
Why? You will enjoy your classes and your college experience more. Motivation results in higher GPA's. Does it make sense to be miserable in math when you LOVE history? Companies will hire and train people with potential for the job they want you to do. Check out Monster Trak.
Follow your strengths.
If you have a way with words but struggle with biology, a pre-veterinary medicine major is not a wise choice, even if you love animals.
Talk to people "in the know."
If you are unsure about your academic preferences or what majors fall within your areas of interest, contact the College office to talk with an advisor.
Complete Focus II at Career Services.
Take advantage of the free, computer self-assessment program, Focus II, at Career Services in Lindley Hall. Be sure to meet with a counselor afterwards to discuss the results.
Consider a double major.
If you are interested in more than one academic area, you are a good candidate for two majors. Most A&S majors require 45-55 credits. Since it takes 192 hours to graduate, finishing two majors should take no longer than one, if you plan your quarters carefully.
Learn as much as possible about careers you are interested in.
Interview people. "Shadow" someone on the job. Try for an internship or summer job. Volunteer. Talk with faculty. Make an appointment with a counselor in Career Services in Lindley Hall. For info about career opportunities and the majors that get you there.
If your major is making you unhappy, come to the College of Arts and Sciences. Request a "what-if" DARS. See how your current courses contribute and what courses are needed for a new major. Talk to an A&S advisor. For information about majors, check out JobStar Central.
Investigate student academic organizations in Arts and Sciences.
Organizations are a great way to interact with faculty and get to know students who are enthusiastic about their Arts and Sciences majors. Click here.
Check out academic support services.
There are experts waiting to help you succeed academically. The Academic Advancement Center in Alden Library is a free, on-campus resource that provides academic counseling, writing assistance, and much, much more. Also, be sure to check out First-Year (Freshman) Student Retention Information.
Undecided or Unsure of Your Major?
DON'T slack off because you are undecided.
The grades you earn your first year are the foundation of your GPA later on. Many programs at OU are selective and require GPA's of 2.75 or higher to be admitted. (See the College of Education; the College of Business and the College of Communication).
DON'T assume your major will guarantee a certain job when you graduate.
What's hot today may be old news tomorrow -- the job market changes rapidly. You don't want to choose a major of little interest to you or one in which you won't do well, based on a guess of what's going to be "in" 3-4 years from now.
DON'T assume that "major equals job."
Nearly any major in A&S prepares you for a career of your choice. Your college education alone qualifies you for many jobs. Employers will train you for their specific needs. To learn about majors and career possibilities, check out Monster Trak.
DON'T think of a major as a "life sentence."
Most programs provide "transferable" skills that are useful for a variety of careers. Law schools require high GPA's and LSAT scores but don't stipulate majors. Bottom line -- choose a major you truly want to study. You can narrow the focus in graduate school or gain experience in the world of work. Check out www.uncwil.edu/stuaff/career/majors.
DON'T be impatient!!
There's no need to rush! Studies show that students who start out as undecided take no longer to graduate than students who begin with a major. 80% of all students change majors at least once! Most importantly, chose your major for all the right reasons. Check out Academic Department List from the College of Arts and Sciences.
For more information, please contact:
College of Arts and Sciences
Email Karen Dahn, Assistant to the Dean