Selecting a Major

Selecting a Major

There is no formula for selecting the right major. It is an individual decision. The major you select will depend on what you are interested in and where your talents lie. It will also depend on such practicalities as what majors are offered at the institutions you are interested in attending and the strength of your commitment to your educational goals.

While students approach the decision from different angles, a systematic plan of action is recommended:

  1. Assess Your Interests and Talents -
    What are your interests? Are you sure of your skills? There are numerous interest and personality inventories that are easy to take and widely available. At Ohlone, Personal Development Courses 149 and 150 give you an opportunity to identify your strongest interests and skills, which can help you focus on majors that best math your inclinations.

  2. Research Majors and Careers -
    Are you interested in science and math? History and philosophy? The fine arts? Perhaps you are unsure about what these majors cover. Do some research. It's easy. The Web has a variety of sites with load of information. Check out Resources for Exploring Majors and Careers to get you started.

  3. Test Your Interests and Make an Investment -
    Now that you have defined your interests and researched majors and careers, take the next step by investing in your decision. Enroll in an introductory course in the major(s) you are considering. Meet with professors, community leaders, and/or business people who work in the fields you are interested in pursuing.

  4. Reality Check -
    Now you need to evaluate your decisions. Did you like the introductory course? Did it touch on issues and questions that intrigued you and made you want to know more? What were the results of your discussions with professionals in the field with whom you consulted?

  5. Carry On or Begin Again -
    You will probably test several majors before deciding on one. Many students change their major several times. But it is not a wasted effort because investing and investigating your future is what college is about.

Visit Resources for Exploring Majors and Careers for further study.

Adapted from The Community College Counselor Sourcebook (The College Board, 2009).

Resources for Exploring Majors and CareersFemale student with laptop in Palm Bosque on Fremont campus.

The Transfer Center houses a library of materials to further assist you in the selecting of your major. Visit the center to browse through materials such as:

In addition, below is a wealth of resources you can use to explore and investigate majors and careers. Don't forget that your counselor and the Transfer Center are available to help you stay on your path!

Majors and Careers Resources
Resource Description
(Articulation System Stimulating Inter-institutional Student Transfer)

Provides several paths you can take to learn about specific majors, requirements for majors, major preparation at community colleges, and transferring courses to California public universities.

ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's colleges and universities and therefore provides the most accurate and up-to-date information available about student transfer in California.

CA Career Cafe Sponsored by the California Community Colleges, website provides resources for exploring possibilities, getting experience, overcoming obstacles and debunking myths related to choosing a major and career.
California Colleges Use Explore Colleges feature to search for public and private institutions in California offering the major of choice.
Career One Stop: Pathways to Career Success National website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, containing a section for students to investigate careers and industries, as well as information about colleges and universities where they can obtain the degrees and credentials they will need for specific occupations.
College / University Catalog Provides descriptions about the major and related career opportunities, its degree requirements, courses you can/should take at the community college, as well as, at the university, upon transfer. Also contains university academic policies, course numbering system, and additional degree requirements.
College Board Major & Career Profiles College Board website providing information about majors as well as profiles of careers. Great for students new to college and majors!
Counseling Department

Meet with an Ohlone College counselor to:

  • Develop a balanced plan that reflects your interests, skills, priorities, and personal growth.
  • Consider major options, including alternatives
  • Strategize major preparation, admission eligibility, and program competitiveness.
Eureka Career Information System

Eureka is a comprehensive career and educational information internet site. Attend a Eureka workshop to explore potential majors and careers with a counselor!

Students need to request an "Eureka Site ID Code" to utilize this resource by contacting the Transfer Center. Some features include:

  • Self-Assessment: You can take different inventories about your interests and skills and trace your findings with related occupations and/or majors.
  • Occupational Information: You can search for a specific occupation and trace its job outlook, salary potential, as well as majors that lead to this particular occupation.
  • College Information: You can search for a specific major and trace the possible occupations this major leads to as well as locate public California colleges and universities that have your major.
Faculty Instructors Learn about the specific field of study; inquire about industry needs, trends; seek mentorship and build rapport; obtain suggestions / recommendations on programs and institutions that reflect your particular focus.
Individual University Website View list of majors / programs offered at institution; Research scope and philosophy of specific programs, departments, faculty, etc.; Explore major-related opportunities such as internships, research projects, student organizations.
Personal Development Courses

Courses that bridge career discoveries with related majors:

  • PD-149 Career Testing Workshop
  • PD-150 Career Planning
  • PD-154 Job Hunting Skills & Strategies
Transfer Center Provides resources for major exploration such as a library of catalogs, recommendation guides, reference handbooks, and university / major research materials. Services include university representative visits, transfer workshops, and information sessions.