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What Can I Do with a Major in ________?

What Can I Do with a Major in ________?

Whether I'm working with students one-on-one, presenting to a class or another group audience or responding to students' concerns, there's one question I hear perhaps more than any other: "What can I do with a major in ________?"

It's only natural to want to know more about the careers your major might lead you to, especially if you're in a liberal arts major like psychology, sociology or English. Any of them can take you in a wide variety of career directions, and fortunately, there are many resources you can tap to answer the major-to-career questions you undoubtedly have.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Meet with a Counselor at Your School's Career Services Office

For starters, campus career counselors tend to know a little about a lot of different majors and careers, so you can take advantage of the knowledge they've accumulated through their work and life experiences. Just as important, most career services offices maintain detailed statistics on what their schools' graduates have gone on to do with their lives after college; thus, in many cases, you can see where students in various majors from your school have landed jobs.

Talk to Professors in Your Department

While you no doubt know that some professors can be more helpful than others when it comes to your career, many have an exceptional handle on the job market and where a particular major might take you. In addition, professors often stay in close contact with graduates from their departments. They can help you contact some of these past students so you can learn firsthand how their college majors have impacted their career directions.

Check into Alumni Resources

Most colleges and universities devote an entire office or department to alumni relations. These offices will often publish a monthly or quarterly magazine listing with information about what alumni from various majors are doing now with their careers. Some of these offices also put out an annual (or less frequently published) alumni directory that includes similar information on past students. In both cases, you'll gain access to data showing how alums from your school (and perhaps even your major) have applied their degrees in the working world.

Read

Several publishing companies offer books that can help you learn more about major-career connections. (You can look for these books in your school's career services or regular library, or in a campus or local bookstore.) VGM Career Horizons, for instance, publishes the Careers for You series on various majors and career areas. Similarly, Ferguson Publishing offers the book College Majors and Careers.

No resource, of course, will identify or explain every possible career that a particular major might lead to. But the resources highlighted here will take you far beyond ground zero and give you a sense of the many possibilities that await you, no matter which major you ultimately choose.

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