How to Select a Major

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Elaine M. Damon, M.S., NCC, LPC, DCC
Career Specialist, Georgia Tech Career Services

For many students, choosing a major is an important decision best understood as a process which focuses on strengths and the acquisition of skills appropriate to a particular discipline. The process begins by assessing a number of individual factors including abilities, skills, interests, personality influences, values, goals, academic areas and activities. Identifying what comes naturally to the student as well as what the student enjoys is the goal of this process. Georgia Tech students have access to an online assessment on the Career Services website Additional assessments are available by appointment with a career counselor. Quite often, students are able to identify several potential majors by conducting a self-assessment and exploring possible opportunities.

Students are strongly encouraged to do a little research and explore career possibilities related to potential academic majors. Several websites provide information related to professions and help students understand the questions they should be asking while making this important decision. These resources include the Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance, the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and the Georgia Career Information System (User Name: gatechcs, Password: gcis 1906). Exploring the Georgia Tech Catalog for course curriculum is also helpful. The Career Services Library, on site and online, provides additional resources.

After exploring the “official” resources, the next step is talking with individuals with expertise in the targeted areas. A conversation with the academic advisors is always a recommended action, as well as speaking with individuals who work in a desirable profession. The annual Georgia Tech Majors Fair will be held Thursday, October 20, 2011, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., offering an excellent opportunity for students to interact with faculty, advisors, seniors and alums who represent the breadth of our undergraduate degree programs.

Students should also take an introductory course in the proposed major to help confirm the choice of majors. Hands-on information gathering and skills acquisition, also described as experiential learning, is another confirmation step in the process, and is often accomplished through internships, co-ops, employment, and volunteer experiences. This thorough and thoughtful exploration process will help guide your student’s choice of major, which can lead to fulfilling employment upon graduation.

For more information on selecting a major, students can visit the Career Services office, located in the Bill Moore Student Success Center, or visit our website at


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Created: 06/05/2011
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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