If you’re unsure of what you want to pursue as a profession, you may find career exploration especially helpful. Taking the time to reflect upon your values, interests, personality, and skills—as well as factors that may be influencing your choices—can help you make informed decisions about your future.
Explore common career paths for different majors by accessing our career exploration online tools, and schedule a career counseling or coaching appointment with the TCE Career Education team
Answers to Common Major and Career Exploration Questions
What can I do with my major after graduation?
Almost anything! Your major does not have to define your career path. Most jobs can be attained with any major, and alumni from many different backgrounds go on to work in a wide range of fields.
As a starting point, focus on the transferable skills you’ve gained, the experiences in which you’ve participated, and the things you’ve enjoyed in your coursework. Ask yourself how you want to use the skills and knowledge gained from your major in your future career.
How do I choose a major or career that fits me?
There are many different ways to choose a major or career that fits you. We recommend following these career decision-making steps to help guide your major and career exploration.
Reflect: It is helpful to reflect on your values, interests, personality, and skills (VIPS) and think about how you can apply them. For example, if you value helping society and have an interest in math and data, you might enjoy working for a nonprofit as an analyst! Understanding the intersection of your VIPS can help you consider the endless combinations of potential majors or jobs. Consider using Focus 2 Career to help you explore your VIPS on your own.
Explore: Explore: The TCE Career Education team can help you generate ideas for majors and careers, and show you resources to help explore options on your own. You can also find self-guided resources and videos under Online Career Resources.
Experience: Internships can provide important professional experience while helping determine what types of majors or careers will be a good fit. Find more information on the Get Experience page.
Act: Acting means making decisions. Remember that these decisions can be small, like joining a related student organization, or taking an exploratory course. Keep in mind that this is a process, and it will take time.
I think I picked the wrong major, what now?
First, take a deep breath; it’s going to be okay! It’s hard to choose a major before you know what it will be like.
If you’re a freshman or sophomore, you have the option of changing your major. Talk to the TCE Career Education team as soon as you think you might want to switch. You can also:
- Explore your options to see what else is out there by looking up degree plans, syllabi, and course descriptions of different majors
- Attend information sessions
- Participate in related student organizations
- Volunteer to get an idea of what these majors and careers are like before switching directions
If you’re a junior or senior, the window to change your major has closed, but you still have many options. Many people work in careers unrelated to their major. Talk with the TCE Career Education team to explore new directions. You can also:
- Get involved as much as you can in your intended career field to test it out
- Participate in student organizations, volunteer, intern, participate in research, try out classes in other majors, or add a minor or certificate in a field more closely related to your interests
The conversations you have with the TCE Career Education team can often lead to specific questions that are best answered by an academic advisor, or vice versa. Most students would benefit from scheduling an appointment with both the Career Education team in Texas Career Engagement and an academic advisor in the Vick Center for Strategic Advising. Vick Center academic advisors meet with all undergraduate students internally transferring to other majors to discuss their degree plan, course schedule, and requirements for transferring majors.
Learn more and explore majors, minors, and certificates offered at UT Austin with Wayfinder.
How do I change majors?
Each college at UT Austin has its own process to change majors, from pre-requisite courses to personal statements. The Texas Career Engagement Career Education team and academic advisors in the Vick Center work closely to help students decide if changing majors is the right option for them, and go over the process of how to transfer into different majors.
The TCE Career Education team can help you:
- Understand what kind of majors might align with your values, interests, personality, and skills
- Discuss how these different paths might affect your short and long-term career goals beyond academics
- Brainstorm content for your internal transfer process application documents
Meeting with a Vick Center academic advisor can help you:
- Understand how to change your major and how that might affect your academic career at UT
- Explore your interests, your strengths, and related academic paths at UT
- Explain the process of how to declare a major and what courses may be needed for internal transfer applications
I want to be in a certain career, but I am in an unrelated major. Help!
Find ways to become involved in the field. You can do this even if you do not have the “right” major for that career (except for very technical or direct careers like engineering, nursing, or teaching that may require certain coursework or certifications). Join student organizations, volunteer, intern, and highlight the transferable skills that you have developed to pivot into a different industry.
Do you have an assessment that tells me what I should do?
While no assessments are sophisticated enough to tell you exactly what you should do, some students find that assessments can help broaden their knowledge of themselves and their career options. Keep in mind that most assessments show only a small piece of your identity and interests. Assessments can’t replace the thought it takes to make these decisions. Your future is up to you! However, we do offer a variety of assessments that can help you learn more about yourself and empower you to make a more informed career decision. Schedule a career counseling or coaching appointment with the TCE Career Education team to learn more and start the process.
Examples of Concerns Addressed
Below are some examples of concerns addressed through career exploration:
- “I feel lost and have no idea what I want to do with my life.”
- “I feel anxious about looking for a job.”
- “I don’t know what to major in.”
- “I’m having trouble picking one career option. I want to do so many things!”
- “I know what I want to major in, but I have no idea what I want to do once I graduate.”
- “I know what I want to do, but I’m not sure what the best major would be.”
- “I want to become a ____ but I’m afraid I can’t do it.”
- “I want to know what kinds of jobs I can get with my major.”
- “I don’t feel like I know enough about all the different careers out there to know what I want to do.”
- “I don’t like any of my classes and none of the majors really appeal to me.”
- “I can’t get into ______. What do I do now?”
- “I thought I wanted to be a _______, but I got into my major and I really don’t like it!”
- “I really like my major, but I don’t want to do it for my career.”
- “I’m afraid I won’t be able to make enough money doing what I enjoy.”
- “My family really wants me to be a _______, but I’m not sure if that’s really what I want.”
- “I want to find a career that will allow me to provide significant financial support for my family.”
- “I’m afraid I won’t be able to find a job, so maybe I’ll just go to graduate school.”
All of these concerns and more can be addressed in a career exploration appointment.
W.Sue Ragle Career Exploration Scholarship
Deadline: Monday, October 31, 2022
If you are an undergraduate student who has or is currently unsure of what your major and/or career path might be, this scholarship might be for you.