How Do I Choose a Major?
Selecting a major or majors is a process and takes a great deal of exploration and time! These are just a few resources that can help in this important process.
Decision-Making Strategies and Career Planning Success
Career Services has developed this resource for information about the making decisions and a yearly checklist for career-related activities.
Meet with a Career Advisor
Goals, academic and non-academic interests, and specific CMU programs will be discussed. Additional resources are given at each appointment, and options for career testing can also be addressed. Students should contact the office (989.774.3068) to schedule an appointment early in their academic careers to start the process!
Explore the Bulletin
The Bulletin is the big book that all students received at Orientation. Explore majors and minors offered in each of CMU’s six academic colleges, and read course descriptions for the required classes. You can follow-up by visiting departmental faculty advisors to discuss specifics of each targeted program. Take introductory courses from majors of interest to narrow choices.
Complete a Career/Self-Assessment Exercise
Try the free FOCUS assessment tool to help clarify interests, values, skills, personality, education preferences and leisure interests. Use this information for further discussions about a choice of major and future plans with a career advisor, mentor, friends, and family members. Career Services also offers the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) for a nominal fee.
Do You Know Your Code?
John Holland's Occupational Themes (RAISEC) and the Strong Interest Inventory
John Holland was a professor of sociology and American psychologist who created a career development model in the late 1950s. He theorized that careers were linked to personality types, categorized the world of work into six types; these are used as a basis for the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Click on the type below for a brief description of each, common characteristics, and matching CMU majors.
- Realistic (The Doers) - Independent and practical people who enjoy physical, athletic and mechanical tasks.
- Investigative (The Thinkers) - Intellectual and inquisitive people who are curious, rational, analytical, logical and scientific.
- Artistic (The Creators) - Articulate and expressive people who are original, innovative, nonconforming and imaginative.
- Social (The Helpers) - Cooperative, caring and empathetic people who excel at socializing, relationship building and activities that involve teamwork.
- Enterprising (The Persuaders) - Ambitious, assertive, and confident people who are dominant, like to influence, and manage others.
- Conventional (The Organizers) - Conservative, logical, and organized people who are detail-orientated, enjoy practical tasks, quantitative activities, and structured settings.
If you had to select your top three, from the list above, what would they be and in what order of importance would you place them? Do you see yourself as Realistic, Artistic and Social (RAS) or maybe Enterprising, Conventional and Investigative (ECI)? Take your top three and search for matching careers using O*NET (the nations primary source for occupational information).
At some point in your school or work life, you may have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and received a 4-letter code based on the responses. It has become the most researched, respected, and most widely used personality inventory; it has many applications including career development. If you know your code, click on the link below for character traits, careers, and information on personal growth for each type.
- ISTJ: Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging (The Duty Fulfiller) - Logical, faithful, and organized; typically reserved and serious, and liked to deal with the present and facts.
- ISFJ: Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging (The Nurturer) - Compassionate, serious, patient, and concerned with taking care of others; they possess a strong work ethic.
- INFJ: Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging (The Protector) - Value-driven, independent, seeking meaningful relationships and ideas; tend to be quiet leaders who exercise influence behind the scenes.
- INTJ: Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging (The Scientist) - Analytical, logical, creative, and are most comfortable working alone; seek efficiency while generally withholding strong emotion.
- ISTP: Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving (The Mechanic) - Masters at using tools and excel at analyzing situations; quite, exploring, and interested in how things work.
- ISFP: Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving (The Artist) - Peaceful, easygoing, and sensitive to their environment; enjoy going about things at their own pace and live in the moment.
- INFP: Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving (The Idealist) - Thoughtful, considerate and good listeners; focus energy internally, and strive to make the world a better place for people.
- INTP: Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving (The Thinker) - Quiet, analytical, and autonomous; curious about systems and how things work.
- ESTP: Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving (The Doer) - Hands-on learners, fun, active, and outgoing; want to solve problems instead of discussing them.
- ESFP: Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving (The Performer) - Generous, optimistic, and warm, and strong interpersonal skills; love to entertain and perform.
- ENFP: Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving (The Inspirer) - Optimistic, full of energy, and look to find meaning in the world, initiators of change, see the possibilities, and energize others.
- ENTP: Extraversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving (The Visionary) - Clever, enthusiastic, outgoing, and flexible; motivated by a desire to understand and improve their environment.
- ESTJ: Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging (The Guardian) - Practical, realistic, and matter-of-fact; enjoy organizing and running activities, and are strong believers in rules and procedures.
- ESFJ: Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging (The Caregiver) - Warm, energetic, and dependable; skilled at reading others and understanding their point of view.
- ENFJ: Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging (The Giver) - Externally-focused, living in the world of possibilities; understanding, caring, and try to bring out the best in others.
- ENTJ: Extraversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging (The Executive) - Dynamic, self-confident, assertive, and outgoing; strong leaders and possess a strong will.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
This resource contains detailed information about hundreds of careers. This is NOT a resource to explore career options related to majors as a specific job title (or career name) is needed to search for occupations.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) constantly updates employment statistics and information related to jobs in demand. This is a great resource to start researching how a major or specific career being targeted might fit into the work.