Exploring Your Major

Exploring majors and careers is a requirement in all GT 1000 courses, and in the first-year seminars offered by colleges and universities across the country.  The focus on career exploration probably makes sense to you: students today often see getting a good job as the purpose of going to college.  But if you already have a declared major, you may question the value of “exploring” it or any other majors offered at Tech.  It is important for all students—those who feel undecided, those with multiple interests, as well as those who feel sure of their choice—to learn about majors, for exploring takes you through the process of developing a solid understanding of a major’s curriculum and options, while also reflecting on your own interests, strengths, and goals.

Choosing the “right” major is important, but maybe not for the reasons that immediately pop into your mind, or that influenced you when you listed a major on your application to Tech.  As the chapter on career explorations stresses, your future professional life may—or may not—directly relate to your undergraduate major.  There are no “bad” or “easy” majors at Tech, and all admitted students have the academic ability to do well in any Tech major.  Your major is your academic program of study, and, even as a first-year student, you probably already know that you will work and study hard to complete your degree requirements.  After all, Tech’s rigorous curricula are one of the reasons employers and graduate programs value Georgia Tech degrees.  Earning your Tech degree is not a simple matter of just “getting by” or checking off boxes on a list of required courses.  Your instructors will expect you to be motivated to learn, to be curious, and to push yourself to excel in your coursework.  Your choice of major matters because learning will be more enjoyable—and probably easier—if you like and are interested in the material you are studying.

In this book’s section on career opportunities, students are encouraged to be focused yet open, and this also applies to major opportunities.  During your first year, aim not only to do well in your classes, but also to reflect on what you find rewarding or stimulating in your coursework.  Take steps to explore fields of study or courses that appeal to you, and keep in mind that you might be able to pursue these interests through minors, certificates, threads or concentrations within your major, or through extra-curricular opportunities.  If you have doubts about your current major, use campus resources to help determine whether you should consider changing majors, or if these concerns are merely temporary.  If you feel that you must choose a particular major in order to reach a career goal, talk to the experts on campus to see if your perceptions are accurate, and remember that you may have more flexibility than you expected.

Contributors to this Section

Beth Spencer, Ph.D. Dr. Spencer is the Director of Undergraduate Academic Advising at Georgia Tech.

All materials in this section are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0.