Major & Career Exploration
While it’s important to remember that there is never one “right” major or career choice, selecting a major or career path is an important decision that requires research and thought. To ensure that you are making well-informed decisions for the future, use the DREAM Career Decision-Making Model below as your guide.
Discover Your DREAM Career
Whether you already have a career path in mind or you’re just beginning to explore, it’s important that you dedicate time and effort to making a thoughtful career decision. Choosing a major or career is a process of self-discovery, research, trying things out, evaluating your options, and then making a decision based on what you’ve learned.
Learn how to schedule an appointment with a CDC counselor for assistance with any part of the major and career decision-making process.
The first step in picking a major or career is exploring who you are and what you want. Self-reflection questions and career assessments can help you learn more about your interests, skills, personality and values.
Explore your answers to the following questions:
What do I like?
What subjects or topics do you find interesting? What types of activities are you drawn to? Your answers to these questions reflect your interests.
To begin exploring your interests, complete a free interest assessment using the O*NET Interest Profiler.
What am I good at?
What are your natural talents? What tasks or concepts come easily to you? Your answers to these questions reflect your skills.
To begin exploring your skills, spend some time reflecting on the following:
- What classes are you most successful in?
- What types of assignments or projects do you excel at?
- When interacting with others, what role(s) do you typically play?
- Do you naturally take the lead on group projects?
- Are you the person friends and family rely on for technical help?
- Do people regularly turn to you for advice or emotional support?
Though there is value in challenging yourself, you are likely to be the most successful when you choose a major and career path that align with your natural skills.
Who am I?
Are you a people person, or do you prefer more alone time? Do you like facts and figures, or are you drawn to ideas and theories? Your answers to these types of questions reflect your personality.
What is important to me?
What do you want from your future career? What do you need from your job to feel happy and fulfilled? Your answers to these questions reflect your values.
To begin exploring your values, consider which of the following are most important to you:
- Diverse Workplace
- Opportunities for Advancement
- High Salary
- Service to Others
- Intellectual Stimulation
- Supportive Coworkers
- Job Security
- Work/Life Balance
These are just a few of the values you may want to consider when exploring career options. It's important that your future career aligns with the values that are most important to you.
If you’re struggling with this process of self-discovery, consider scheduling an appointment with a career counselor to determine if taking a career assessment could be helpful. View instructions for scheduling an appointment on the CDC Career Counseling Appointments page.
The Career Development Center offers the following assessments:
Strong Interest Inventory
Helps identify your interests and match those interests to various careers and work environments.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Explores your personality by looking at how you prefer to perceive the world and make decisions.
Measures your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.
Putting it All Together
Now that you’ve given thought to the four self-reflection questions above, start identifying careers that align with these different aspects of who you are and what you want. Your ideal career(s) will be found in the overlap between your interests, skills, personality, and values.
Still feeling unsure about who you are and what you want from a major or career? View instructions for scheduling an appointment with a career counselor.
Once you’ve invested time in learning about yourself, the next step is to learn about the majors and careers available to you.
Resources for Selecting a Major
Factors to consider when selecting a major include your interests and career goals as well as university policies.
CSULB Course Catalog
Explore major options and look at course descriptions in the CSULB Course Catalog to see which classes sound interesting to you. You don’t have to like every class in your major, but you should like most of them.
Major Declaration Requirements
Review the CSULB Major Declaration Requirements to find out the minimum GPA and any prerequisites for your major(s) of interest.
University Center for Undergraduate Advising
Once you’ve narrowed down your major options, be sure to meet with an academic advisor from the CSULB University Center for Undergraduate Advising to create a roadmap for what classes you will take.
What Can I Do with This Major?
Not sure what the career options are for your major(s) of interest? What Can I Do with This Major? will show you typical career paths for different majors.
Careers Related to CSULB Degrees
View Careers Related to CSULB Degrees to explore career opportunities associated with CSULB majors.
Learn about your future earning potential based on major or industry through CalStatePays.
Resources for Researching Careers
The best approach to researching careers combines online research with talking to professionals in your field(s) of interest.
Search thousands of videos from CSULB alumni and other professionals in a variety of fields to learn what a typical workday is like in your profession(s) of interest. View instructions for accessing CandidCareer on the CDC CareerLINK page.
Search the O*NET career database to see detailed descriptions of a wide variety of jobs and access local salary data.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
The Occupational Outlook Handbook career database created by the US Department of Labor includes job descriptions, job outlook, and information on how to get into your chosen field.
One of the best ways to learn about careers you are considering is to conduct informational interviews with professionals in jobs or companies that interest you. Once you’ve gathered career information online, take your research to the next level by learning directly from people working in your desired field(s). Learn how to request an interview and what questions to ask on the CDC Informational Interviews page.
Now that you’ve taken the time both to assess your interests, skills, personality, and values and to research available majors and careers, it’s time to narrow down your options. Which major or career possibility seems like the best fit and is something you want to continue to explore? You’re not making a commitment yet – you’re just deciding which option to try first by gaining experience.
The best way to figure out what you like is by giving it a try, so test out your top major/career option(s) through classes, internships, part-time work, campus organizations, and/or volunteer opportunities.
Resources for Acquiring Experience
CSULB offers numerous resources to help you gain experience.
CDC Job & Internship Search Page
CareerLINK Job Board
Find both on- and off-campus jobs and internships from employers looking to hire CSULB students and alumni. View instructions for accessing the CareerLINK Job Board on the CDC CareerLINK page.
Explore hundreds of organizations on campus through BeachSync, CSULB’s online platform for campus involvement.
Now that you’ve done your research and gained experience, you will need to decide if you want to continue on your current path or explore other options. Deciding on a major or career often requires trial and error, so do not be discouraged if it takes a few tries to find something you like.
Keep in mind that your career wants and needs may change over time, so this is a process that you will most likely need to revisit. Most people have multiple careers throughout their lifetime, so don’t feel like you have to make a forever decision when it comes to your career. There’s always time to try something new!