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Career Planning and Decision Making
IDI 1550 / 1 credit / Fall
Designed to assist students who are beginning a career, have not yet selected their major, or are undecided on their career goals. Students apply research and career-development theory to examine how to formulate and make major and career decisions. Experiential activities include interest testing, skills and values identification, informational interviews, writing résumés and cover letters, conducting career research, interviewing skills, and the internship and job search. Participants gain insight into their career development through assessments, exploratory activities, and discussion. Limited to exploring sophomores and juniors.

Exploring Majors and Careers

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The Career Development Center and the Advising Center have developed “Exploring Major and Career Possibilities" web pages that specifically address majors at Purchase College. Visit any major in the sidebar to find out about the Purchase major, career possibilities, job search links and more!  For more information on specific majors, please visit the 8 Semester Graduation Plan page for majors you are exploring. 

View the Major Channel on Candid Career to to view informational interviews of professionals to continue to explore majors and careers. 

Myths about Majors
Many college students think that an academic major exists for every career field.  In other words, if you commit to a major, you will be committing to a corresponding career field.  
This is a MYTH!

Contrary to myth, a major studied does not always correspond to a particular career.  Some career choices, however, are certainly strongly shaped by a specific undergraduate major or academic training in a specific field.  For example, If you plan to become a dancer, dance training and study will provide you with the intensive training you will need to succeed in this career.  For those who plan to teach, an Education major would surely be an asset.  However, many career fields don’t always require a specific major.  People who have specific majors don't always use them as commonly expected.

The majority of college liberal arts majors do not necessarily offer specific preparation for a single type of work.  Instead they educate you and help you (along with your activities, internships, jobs, etc.) by creating the total personal package that can enable you to pursue any career you wish. Your awareness of the relationship between career fields and college majors can play a vital part in your choice of academic major, minor, and elective courses.

As you begin to make decisions on your program of study, you need to take a closer look at your interests, abilities, activities and values.  Which clubs or organizations do you find exciting? What classes have you taken in college or high school that have been the most stimulating? In which courses did you achieve the most success?  Most people are happy in their careers when the job they do allows them to use their skills, their interests, and matches their work values.

For example, you may have a strong interest in working within the music industry, but you can’t sing a note but you do have skills as a writer, and you know your value of working with creative people is important to you.  So how about working as a press agent, or a copywriter to write the copy on a musician's website or other music publication? 

Your academic degree can help you to develop marketable skills such as communication, creativity, writing, analytical study and investigation.  With these building blocks you can explore a multitude of career paths, and follow your interests.   Choose a major that would allow you to develop these skills, such as one of the Humanities: Writing, Journalism, Sociology, or Media, Society and the Arts.  Enhance your academic skills and confirm career interests through internships, service learning, and other experience.

Speak with your academic advisor, or make an appointment with an advisor in the Advising Center for further discussion. You should talk to heads of Boards of Study, and professors  learn about the courses offered, and examples of senior projects from previous students.  Talk to RA’s and upper-classmen to gain a sense of how they perceive their departments’ strengths and weaknesses.

If you are still undecided, the Career Development Center offers a number of assessment tools to help you focus on your interests.  Make an appointment with a career counselor to discuss the resources that would be most helpful for your needs.

Updated 3/14