Academic Advisement Center
So, you have decided to attend Missouri State University, but you are undecided about a major. Good! The truth is, most beginning college students are not sure about a major or career choice.
Your choice of a major is too significant to rush. Instead, use your first semesters at the university to explore all your possibilities. At Missouri State you are surrounded by resources to help you make important decisions about your future. Until you are ready to declare a major, you will be classified as a pre-major student advised in the Academic Advisement Center, and you will be encouraged to gather information about yourself and your educational and career options. It can take a considerable amount of time and effort to make sound decisions about your future, so be prepared to start the process at the beginning of your college experience.
To begin, enroll in First Year Foundations, a course designed to address public affairs issues and help you make a successful transition to Missouri State. GEP 101 will help you become familiar with the many resources on campus to help you succeed academically and personally and to help you explore various options for your major and career.
Next, see your academic advisor. He or she will be one of the key resource people to help you consider your options for a major. Each person receiving a bachelor’s degree must complete 43-51 hours of general education classes. Your advisor will help you choose courses to fulfill those general education requirements while gaining exposure to a variety of majors offered at Missouri State. He or she also will help guide your research on the requirements for the different majors you will consider. You will be notified by email of your advisor assignment. If you have a question about that assignment, please contact the Academic Advisement Center. So that your advisor can be as useful to you as possible, you need to make and keep advising appointments throughout the semester. Be honest with your advisor about your academic strengths and weaknesses, and share your ideas and concerns about choosing a major.
In order to make a career choice which is right for you, you must know about yourself, your values, your skills and your interests. Begin by asking yourself questions about what you really want out of life. FOCUS 2, a computer program available to students through the Career Center, asks a series of questions to identify possible occupations which may be compatible with your values and interests. Take advantage of the opportunity to work on FOCUS, then make an appointment with a professional career counselor to discuss what you learned. For students who would like to explore career options in a classroom setting, IDS 120: Exploring Majors and Careers is an excellent choice.
As you continue your self-exploration with career services, you should consider taking inventories that help you clarify your values and interests. Along with knowing yourself, you must know what careers are available. Begin to take an interest in what people do for a living. Ask your friends what their parents do. As you meet people, ask them about their career paths so you can benefit from their experience. Become familiar with the resources in the Career Center. You may wish to gather information at the Majors Fair held each fall.
Another aspect of career exploration is work experience. You may be surprised to find out how much your part-time and summer jobs contribute to your understanding of work, what you like and what you do well. Work experience of any kind is a valuable asset when you are seeking your first full-time position after college. Career-related experience is especially useful. While you are in college, gain some work experience, either part-time or full-time, in paid or volunteer work. For assistance, contact the Student Employment Office and the Career Center.
You also can gain valuable leadership experience through campus organizations. More than 250 student organizations on campus provide opportunities to develop your skills through departmental, professional, social, religious and recreational groups. Contact the Office of Student Engagement for more information.
Begin to seek information and experience now so that your choice of a major will be based on solid facts rather than guesses. Remember, you are not alone in deciding what direction to take with your life.
We challenge you to use Missouri State resources fully while you are on campus. Those resources include the following:
Academic Advisement Center
Bear CLAW (Center for Learning and Writing)
The Career Center
CARR 309, Glass 103
Counseling and Testing Center
GEP 101: First Year Foundations
IDS 120: Exploring Majors and Careers
See The Career Center, above
Partners in Education
Office of Student Employment Services
Office of Student Engagement and Campus Volunteer Center