Tips for Choosing Your Major

Many people do not realize that choosing a major is not choosing a career. While some careers, like nursing, require a specific undergraduate major most do not. As you think about your undergraduate major at Binghamton, consider the following:
  • Choose a major that interests and motivates you. You will get better grades and get more out of the major. A higher GPA will be attractive to future employers and will leave the door open to going to graduate school later if you decide to go.
  • Majors don't limit you to one type of work. For example, if you major in History, English, or many other majors, you might become a bank manager, lobbyist, career counselor, production manager, or pursue a number of other career fields.
  • Major is only one variable in determining your career path. Your grades, electives, and skills you acquire through experiences both in and out of the classroom often tell employers more about what you have to offer than does your major. Also, other factors such as personal traits, your goals, experiences (jobs, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, internships), and knowledge of and demonstrated interest in a career field play a large part in determining an employer's response to you.
  • Most college students choose majors in the liberal arts -- English, foreign languages, history, philosophy, visual and performing arts, etc. Graduates with these majors offer employers many valuable skills including analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to speak and write effectively. Strengthen your competence in critical transferable skill areas such as leadership, teamwork, and and adaptability by taking supplemental courses and gaining experience outside the classroom.
  • Develop skills employers want. Read "What Do Employers Really Want? Top Skills and Values Employers Seek from Job-Seekers" to learn what those skills are and determine if you have them or need to find a way to develop them.

Other Helpful Resources for Choosing Your Major/Career

  • Through the Binghamton University Alumni Association Professional Network on LinkedIn, you can tap an expansive group of fellow alumni for networking. If you're a current student looking to learn about career fields, expand your professional network, and or improve you job search strategy, we encourage you to join the LinkedIn subgroup specifically for student-to-alumni professional networking. Included in the Student-to-Alumni Professional Network subgroup is a network of Binghamton alumni who have volunteered to be contacted by current students regarding their career. Alumni network volunteers can provide information and assistance whether you are conducting a job search, considering graduate school or contemplating a career change. Although the Network is not an employment or placement program, it is designed to help you connect with alumni and tap their talents and insight.
  • Counselor Assistance: available on a daily basis to discuss a variety of career issues. Stop in during Walk-In Hours.
  • Career Resource Library: print resources are available in the Fleishman Career Center to help you explore majors and careers.
  • Our Career Planning Guide will help you map out steps for planning your career
  • Choosing a Major Quick Reference Guide 
  • Identifying Your Values is an important step to finding a good match between you and your major or career.
  • "Top Ten" Strengths Exercise is a starting point for identifying your strengths so you can make smart major and career decisions.
  • Networking and Informational Interviewing is one of the best ways to learn about occupations. Follow this guide to build your professional network and learn about career options.
  • Every year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), conducts a survey to identify the top 10 personal qualities/skills employers seek - and every year these skills are Transferable Skills. Find out what they are and how to obtain them!
  • Find out what majors are offered at BU on the list of Academic Offerings at Binghamton University
  • Major Exploration Links

The website of the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development at Binghamton University contains links to other websites as a convenience for its users and is not responsible for the contents of any linked site.

Last Updated: 11/11/14