Debunking Major Myths

You will likely begin to explore SPU’s majors with a few preconceived ideas. But many are really just myths, or misconceptions. Here are some of the most common:

Myth 1: The sooner you decide on a major, the better.

Fact: Nearly 80 percent of students entering college have not decided on a major. Research shows that many who begin college without a declared major have an advantage over those who make a rushed decision. With the exception of a few majors, there is plenty of time to intentionally explore options and discern your direction by your junior year.

Myth 2: You’ll eventually find a major — if you just wait, it will come to you.

Fact: Career planning is not passive! You must take action, and we can help. Taking advantage of our resources and services can make your hunt for a career or major a more reasonable, manageable, and even enjoyable process.

Myth 3: Someone else can make the decision for you.

Fact: All good decisions are made with the input of people around us who can be helpful, but you are the one who is going to proceed down the path your major dictates. So listen to the input, prayerfully consider options, and then make a decision that feels right for you.

Myth 4: Looking at what’s happening in the job market is the best way to decide on a major.

Fact: You should choose an undergraduate major that excites and intrigues you, and a subject matter you will enjoy studying. Then be active in exploring career options, networking, and gaining extra-curricular experiences.

Myth 5: Your major predicts your career.

Fact: While you may seek and obtain employment that directly relates to your major, you may also enter career areas that either relate only indirectly or have no relation at all. Any major can prepare you for numerous job possibilities. Within five years after graduation, over 50 percent of college graduates are in a career not directly related to their major. The vast majority of them are as happily employed as those who are in fields related to their major — and feel that the major they chose helps them with their job. 

Employers tend to look for qualities other than your major — many will never even ask about your major. They want students who can think and communicate, and have some exposure to the field they’re entering, either through an internship or other related work experience.

Myth 6: A student with a liberal arts major has few talents that are valuable in the world of work.

Fact: A liberal arts major can help you understand and relate to others, as well as gain the flexibility needed to respond to a rapidly changing job market. In fact, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 93 percent of employers agree that job candidates’ demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major, and four out of five employers agree that all students should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

Myth 7: There is one right job for you.

Fact: There are undoubtedly many jobs in which your abilities can be utilized and your calling fulfilled. Most people have only a limited awareness of the employment possibilities available for consideration. You should network and gain experiences throughout your time at college in order to find meaningful employment.

Myth 8: Most people start their careers upon graduation and proceed in a straight line toward their ultimate career objectives.

Fact: The career paths of most people change direction multiple times. Subsequent work experiences may provide you with knowledge and skills you can then adapt to other kinds of job involvements. During your lifetime you’ll make an average of three career changes and work seven to 10 jobs.

Student studying

What Can I Do With That Major?

View lists of jobs and vocations by major (PDFs):

See all major sheets

Transferrable skills

Do You Have Valuable Skills You Aren’t Even Aware Of?

Transferable skills are skills you’ve developed in one setting that will be useful wherever you go, whatever you do in life. Here are some examples:

  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Creativity
  • Efficiency
  • Punctuality
  • Trustworthiness

Discovering those skills and learning to articulate the value you bring to an employer will go a long way!

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