Choosing a major

  1. What do you enjoy learning?
  2. Which academic activities tend to bring out your best work?
  3. How do you most like to spend your free time?
  4. What activities seem most rewarding to you?

Choosing a major based on your answers to these questions will likely lead to success and personal satisfaction in college and in your career — even if, in the long run, your career has no direct relation to your major.

  1. Using the list of majors at SPU, cross off those that you know you would never want to choose.
  2. Of those left, put an “x” by any that you might consider or are unclear about what they are.
  3. Look up information about those that you that you are unclear about in the SPU majors list.
  4. Narrow the list down to the top 3-5.
  1. From the SPU major list, click on the Degree Requirements of each top major that interests you (e.g. Apparel Merchandising).
  2. In a new tab, open this quarter’s undergraduate time schedule. Click on the current academic year, and your department of interest (e.g. Apparel Merchandising is in the Family and Consumer Sciences department). Click on the current quarter. Which classes in this major are running this quarter that you’re interested in, and could sit in on?
  3. List classes you’d like to sit in on your top majors of interest, AND professors you’d like to meet with (more on this below). These may be professors teaching the classes, or professors you’ve heard recommended from friends.

#1. Request to sit in on a class:

SUBJ: Interest in sitting in on your [Interior Design studio] class

Dear [Dr. Blanchard],

I’m a [freshman] at SPU considering a major change to [Interior Design]. I'm writing because I know you're an [Interior Design] professor, and see that you’re teaching [FCS 2204: Interior Design Studio] this quarter. I’m really hoping to sit in on a few classes in the department (as well as meet with several professors) as I decide if this is the best major for me.

[I know it’s late in the quarter and understand if it’s not convenient, but] would there be any possibility of me sitting in your [Interior Design Studio] class this quarter?

I’m available to come any [Tuesday or Thursday] that might work for you in the next few weeks.

Thank you very much for considering!

[Your name]

#2. Request to meet with a professor

SUBJ: Interest in speaking with you

Dear [Dr. Blanchard],

I’m a [freshman] at SPU considering a major change to [Interior Design]. I'm writing because I know you're an [Interior Design] professor. I’m really hoping to meet with several professors in the department (as well as sit in on a few classes) as I decide if this is the best major for me.

[I know it’s late in the quarter and understand if it’s not convenient, but] would you possibly be willing to talk for 20 minutes in person or over Zoom so I could learn more about what you teach and the major?

In the next 2 weeks, I’m available [Fridays all day, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays after 3].

Thank you very much for considering!

[Your name]

  1. Before meeting with professors
    Create a list of questions in advance. What would help you decide if this major is right for you?
    Be sure to ask questions that lead to information you want to know.
    Don’t ask the professor about their job unless that is a career option you are exploring.
    Don’t ask about the class requirements or other information you already looked up online. 
    Sample questions:
    1. Why do you (professor) enjoy this subject?
    2. What interests and strengths do most students come to this major with? (share yours)
    3. What type of student will do well in this program?
    4. What types of internships to students pursue?
    5. What types of careers do graduates of this major head into?
    6. Do you have any advice on…?
    7. What could I do next to learn more?
  2. During your conversation
    1. Greet, thank the professor for their time, tell them a bit about yourself (strengths and uncertainties).
    2. Ask questions that lead to information you want to know – from your prepared list.
    3. Ask if they would be willing to share the name and contact information of a current student and/or a recent alumni that you could talk to.
    4. Ask for a business card.
    5. Thank them again for their time.
    6. Send a thank-you note or email.
  3. After the conversation, review what you learned:
    1. What were my thoughts before the interview?
    2. What new information had an impact on me?
    3. How will I use what I learned to direct my major and career direction?
    4. What are my next steps for further exploration?

After sitting in on classes and meeting with professors in several majors of interest, what’s next? Is more research needed? More conversations with faculty? Trying a class? Meeting with faculty advisor? Academic Counselor? Career Counselor? Doing a job shadow? Not sure? Reach out to the CCC! We’d love to help!

Career Assessment

Pathway U — your path towards joy, meaning, and purpose

Join now and get started: 

  • Complete four assessments (Values, Interests, Personality, and Workplace Preferences) in 15 to 25 minutes.
  • Use the Explore Career Matches feature to see what education and career paths are a great fit for you, and use the Job Board to find real jobs that fit these paths.
  • Click “Set Up Appointment” to schedule a time to talk with a counselor.
O*NET Career Exploration Tools

O*NET is the nation's primary source of occupational information. The O*NET database contains hundreds of occupation-specific descriptors, and is continually updated with feedback from a broad range of workers in each occupation.

O*NET Ability Profiler: Individuals can use the O*NET Ability Profiler to identify strengths, as well as areas for additional training and education, and to identify occupations that fit their abilities.

O*NET Interest Profiler: A self-assessment career exploration tool that can help students discover work activities and occupations that they would like and find exciting. They can use their interest results to explore the world of work. 

O*NET Work Importance Locator / Profiler: This self-assessment allows users to identify what is important to them in a job and identify occupations that may be satisfying based on the similarity between their work values (such as achievement, autonomy, and conditions of work) and the characteristics of the occupations.

The Center for Career and Calling on the SPU campus
  • You can schedule an appointment with a professional career counselor online from the “Career Center” tab on your Handshake account, in person at our front desk on the second floor of the Student Union Building, or by calling 206-281-2485.
  • Also, 15-minute walk-in appointments are available during the school year Monday–Friday, 12–2 p.m.

What about your calling?

Vocational discernment is a process of clarifying one’s calling that involves guidance, self-reflection, and prayer. Students are encouraged to take time to understand their gifts and passions in order to find a vocational direction that will serve others and bring purpose and meaning to their life. Learn more about how the CCC can help with vocational discernment!