A Majors Fair? That sounds fun! But what do I DO there?

The Majors Fair will be FULL of representatives from Batten, McIntire, Engineering, Nursing, Data Science, Education, Architecture, and many College majors. This is your chance to “shop around,” explore possibilities, and speak with people who can answer your questions all in one stop! And while that may sound cool, you may also find yourself thinking, but what exactly will I DO? or say? Great questions!

This is your chance to DISCOVER more about various majors and programs across the University:

Consider this like a first date, you want to ask questions that will allow you to get a sense of “who” this major really is. Perhaps you start with bigger questions like:

  • What sets your department apart from others?
  • What do students love about your department/major?
  • How might I know I am a good fit for your department/major?
  • Why should I consider this major?
  • What skills will I gain as a result of being in this major?

If you like the sound of things so far, you may want to dig a little deeper for insider tips for this major and the department. Those questions might sound like:

  • What courses would help me explore this major?
  • What are the most loved classes in your department?
  • How can I best prepare for success in this major?
  • What challenges might I expect in this major?
  • How can I contact current students to discuss their experiences in the major?

Next, you’ll want to EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES this department offers their students:

At this stage, you want to explore what perks students who declare this major enjoy. What are the extra things to love about this major and department? Questions to the major representative might sound like:

  • Does the department offer clubs or associations to get involved in?
  • What special opportunities does this department offer to their majors? (scholarships, internships, leadership, etc…)
  • What types of research are faculty in the department working on?
  • Are there opportunities for students to get involved in research?

At this point, you may want to CONSIDER NEXT STEPS AFTER GRADUATION:

Remember major does not equal career: in a survey of UVA Arts & Sciences graduates, only 27% report a direct connection between their major and current career. Although a handful of careers do require a specific major, most employers are open to hiring candidates from diverse degrees and backgrounds. In fact, a major is only one factor in determining your future job prospects: often your electives, activities, experiences, and skills reveal more about who you are to employers! And these are the things that fill out your resume!

Gather some information about post-graduation pathways and examples of what alumni have gone on to do. Consider this an interview about where you both see yourselves in a few years 😊 by asking questions such as:

  • What are the expected AND unexpected careers alumni have pursued with this major?
  • How does this major help prepare students for the working world?
  • Is graduate study/professional school required or suggested to pursue career fields within this major?
  • How can I gain research experience in this field?
  • How can I gain career experience related to this field?
  • How can I contact alumni to discuss their real-world success with this major?

Finally, once you decide to pursue a major further, you’ll want to SEEK ADVISING:

This is the part of the conversation to get down into the details. Remember, this representative likely knows this major well and has seen students thrive and crash and burn. You want to be “all ears” for their advice on next steps and setting yourself up for success. These questions might sound like:

  • What course combinations are great? Which ones should I avoid?
  • When is the best time to declare this major(s)?
  • What type of coursework and projects (essays, papers, group projects, research, assignments) can I expect?
  • What is my next step to declare this major?
  • If I have more questions, who is the best person to contact?

After the fair, DETERMINE YOUR NEXT STEPS:

Do you need to continue the conversation with the representative or someone else from the department? Do you need to explore the courses offered for the major? Or map out a potential program plan for completing the requirements? Perhaps you need to decide between a few majors that caught your interest – chatting with an advisor might be a good way to think through finding a good fit!

Did you miss the Majors Fair?

No problem! You can reach out directly to any representative to any major/department across the University to ask any of the above questions at any time!

Post authored by Christy Rotman, College Life Skills Coach at the University of Virginia

 

By Katie Densberger
Katie Densberger Director of the Georges Student Center Katie Densberger