7 Career Paths for Undecided College Majors

Posted by IPFW Admissions Team on 7/25/17 4:30 PM

As you approach the end of high school and the beginning of college, one of the biggest decisions in the next year or so is choosing your major. Whether you do it before you head off to college or once you get there, your college major represents the academic area you’ll live in for the next four years, plus the next big step toward your future.

20170725[1].jpgHow you start your professional life, what you accomplish in your first job, what you earn in the beginning—all of this stems from your major. It’s a lot of pressure.

But by some counts, there are over 1,800  majors offered at America’s colleges and universities. Some institutions offer 200 or more on their own. How can you possibly sort through them all and find the one that fits you best?

Think Career Path First, Major Second

If you keep going back and forth about picking a college major, try thinking about it in a slightly different way. What career paths sound most interesting to you?

Starting with a career path often makes the job of choosing a major more manageable. While there are too many majors to consider each one individually, there are only a handful of career paths that most American college graduates follow.

A career path broadly describes the type of work in a field and the kind of people who enjoy doing it. A single career path can lead to many different careers, with each career focusing on a particular major or group of majors.

When you choose your career path, you can start exploring the careers associated with it. From there, your list of potential majors gets considerably shorter.

Choosing a Career Path Doesn’t Mean Choosing a Major

It’s perfectly fine to enter college as an undecided major. In some cases, it’s ideal. But once you find a promising career path, you can schedule a few foundational classes on that path and work towards a major from there.

For example, if careers in engineering and science catch your interest, the odds are good that you need some advanced math classes, regardless of the specific major you choose. You can move ahead and start taking some of those classes before declaring your major. That keeps you on track to graduate in four years and gives you space to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. You get to know the faculty and familiarize yourself with possible career options. From there, you can narrow your focus to a specific major.

The 7 Career Paths

Here at IPFW, we formalized the concept of career paths into a program that helps undecided students choose a major. But you don’t have to apply to our school to use this handy framework for yourself.

If you’re truly an undecided major, start on the first column of the chart (“If you are…”). It describes personality traits that typically help people thrive in that career path. Find the one that describes you best, click on the link in the middle column and start exploring your career path and major options.

Here are the seven major career paths that we identified:

If you are...

Then this Pathway…

Could lead to a major in...

Goal-oriented, innovative, and organized; interested in problem-solving, inspiring others, and/or engaging in the community.

Business and Leadership

Business, Organizational Leadership and Supervision, Public Affairs, Hospitality and Tourism Management

Passionate about youth and making a difference; nurturing and want to do good in the world.

Education

Education Policy, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Music, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Space Science, Physics, Social Studies, Language Arts, Early Childhood Education

Interested in learning about people, the world, or cultures; caring and compassionate.

Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences

Anthropology, Communication, Economics, English and Linguistics, History, Human Services, International Language and Culture Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Women's Studies

Interested in science, medicine, or helping people; caring and sympathetic.

Allied Health Sciences

Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Dental Lab Technology, Dental Assisting, Medical Imaging, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Transfer Health programs

A problem solver who seeks to understand things on a higher level; analytical and theoretical.

Engineering and Science

Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geology

Interested in working with your hands and tinkering with electronic devices; inquisitive and technical.

Polytechnic

Computer Engineering Technology, Construction Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Industrial Engineering Technology, Information Systems, Information Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology

Value art and artistic expression; creative and enjoy artistic collaboration.

Visual and Performing Arts

Fine Arts, Music Performance, Music Technology, Music Therapy, Theatre, Graphic Design, Imaging and Photography, Modeling and Animation, Interior Design

 

Find Your Path at IPFW

At IPFW, we welcome undecided majors. We know it’s a big decision, so we make sure our students get the guidance and resources to feel confident about choosing their direction and picking their major. To learn more about how IPFW can help you find your path, click below for your free guide to our Pathway Program.

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Topics: Choosing a Major, Undecided


 

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