RESOURCES FOR PARENTS AND FAMILIES:
CHOOSING A MAJOR
Because much of academic life revolves around one's major, choosing a major is an important decision for college students. From experience, we know that many students arrive at St. Olaf with an area of study in mind. Many of those students will alter that idea or change their intended area of study and choose a completely new direction. Other students come to college without an identified major and are eager to explore what different majors offer. In either case, students will benefit by exploringresources — to confirm declared interests, to clarify multiple interests, or to identify new options.
How Parents Can Help
Suggest that your child make an appointment with a career coach in the Piper Center for Vocation and Career during their first year at St. Olaf. It's never too early to begin a conversation about ideas for majors or career options and how best to use the college years to prepare for one's future.
- Become familiar with the information provided in the following links so you can assist your son or daughter in exploring options for a major, concentration, and/or area of emphasis.
- Talk with your student about the new things they are discovering about themself during their first years at St. Olaf College. Support your child's exploration of new areas of study and interests.
- Encourage your student to choose an area of study consistent with his passions and in which he can excel. Career decisions can come later.
Remember that choosing a major is not tied to choosing a career. Majors in a liberal arts college are not necessarily linked to a narrow range of career choices but instead provide a broad range of skills that are valuable to employers in all industries.
How The Piper Center for Vocation and Career Can Help
Piper Center coaches work individually with students in all phases of the career development process. Our coaches are trained to guide students in identifying their interests, values and skills, and to assist them in developing an individualized career planning process.
Assessment inventories such as the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator can help students clarify their interest patterns and personal strengths and relate these to areas of study. Interested students meet with a career coach to determine the most appropriate inventory, take the inventory online, and then return for an interpretation of the results.
Piper Center peer advisors provide valuable assistance to students as they begin to think about majors and careers. They put students at ease, introduce resources, and provide individual help to students on a walk-in basis. Peer advisors staff the Piper Center resource center 9–5 Monday–Friday.
The Piper Center maintains a comprehensive resource library of books to assist students in exploring majors and careers within interest areas. Students are welcome to check out books for three weeks at a time, with the option to renew if necessary.