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First Year Experience

Majors

From Undecided to Decided (with Confidence)

What does it mean to be undecided? You may be considered undecided if any of the following bullet points apply to you : 

  • You are completely lost when it comes to selecting a major
  • You have not committed to a specific major
  • You may have two or more majors you are considering
  • You have chosen a minor but not a major
  • You vaguely have an idea about your future career
  • You may not have a specific goal set for yourself 
  • You are brand new to college and don’t know where to start

If you are undecided on a major, you are in luck! LACC is here to support you as you embark on this journey to transition from undecided to decided (with confidence)! Here are some ways for you to explore your future options:

Get to Know Yourself 

The most successful people in our world have taken time to explore themselves, introspect, and found out what truly makes them happy. One of the most important first steps in the self-exploration process is understanding who you are. In order to you to explore yourself, we suggest seeking out interests, skills, personality traits, and values that generally make you excited. Knowing these topics can better help you in making quality decisions for your future. Below we will help you define these important topics as well as supply you with questions to begin your own self-exploration:

Interests – what you like to do and learn about
  • What do you like to do in your spare time? What are you naturally curious about? What are some random topics you explore on the web?  What is fascinating to you? 

Skills – what you are good at and have some natural abilities
  • What are some tasks you do with ease? What do people normally compliment you on regarding your work? Are there any skills you know you have that you want to develop more fully?

Values – what is important to you in your work but mainly in your life 
  • What is valuable to you regarding views on the world? Are there any specific causes that you hold true to your heart? What beliefs do you have that you need in your future job?

Personality – what you are like when you are not influenced by others  
  • What are some personal traits about yourself that you believe are unique? What adjectives best describe you? If someone were to speak about you, what might they say? 

 

Tips on how to find out more information about myself? 

  • Create a life timeline. This will help you identify key moments in your life that have guided you to where you are today. Identify the highs, the lows, and leave space for the future so you can plan what you want it to look like

  • Take an inventory of your likes/dislikes to see if anything pops out to you

  • Start journaling or create a vision board full of goals for yourself and make sure it is visible (you are more likely to achieve your goals if you can physically see them daily) 

  • Read books, speak with others, and attend events that inspire you

  • Put yourself in learning situations, although sometimes they may be uncomfortable, you can grow and find out more about yourself 

Websites for Personal Exploration: 

 

Explore Career Options

Once you have explored your own identity and have an idea about who you are, the next step is to determine a career plan. Having a career in mind can help you evaluate your next steps as you decide your future in college. When speaking about careers, we have to look at what a career entails as well as what it means to you in order to develop an effective plan. This process will assist you in focusing on what you want and how to get there. The following are important ideas you should consider when exploring careers: 

Duties of the Career - the responsibilities of the job
  • What will you be doing every day? What are you expected to do in your role? What are some extra roles this job might take on?

Career Environment where is the job and what schedule you will have
  • Will you be at a desk or traveling in this role? Where is this job located? Are you expected to relocate in this career?  Will you be working for a large company or on your own? 

Pay/Compensation  what you will be making at this job
  • How much are you going to take home after taxes? How often do you get paid? Are there opportunities for you to do over-time? Can you move up in this role and make more money? 

Job Outlook - what will the job look like in the future
  • Will this job still be around in 5, 10, 15 years? What competing careers might replace this job? Is the job market growing or shrinking? 

Similar Jobs/Alternative Titles - other similar careers that relate to this job
  • What other jobs are available in case this specific career doesn’t pan out? What jobs have the same expectations as this job? Will these similar jobs make the same amount of money or less? 

How to Become This Career - what does it take to achieve this career
  • How much schooling, if any, do I need?  Do I need to have any certificates? Is this job expectations the same in other states/countries?  Do I need specific training? 

 

Tips on how to find out more information about careers? 

  • Use the web to explore career options, training needed, pay, etc.

  • Don’t be afraid to try out a career to see if you like it or not

  • Job shadowing, informational interviews, and career field trips are great ways to research 

  • Talk to people who work in career fields you are considering and ask them about their experiences 

Websites for Career Exploration: 

 

Explore Major Options

Now that you have an idea about a career, it is time to identify one or multiple college majors that would relate to the job/career field. An academic major can be roughly defined as a concentration in a field of specialization. While some majors can lead directly to a career (example: nursing, accounting, etc.), some majors simply open doors. By having a college degree, you are learning transferable skills that can take to a variety of careers. 

One of the most common question from first-year students is, “Can I change my major if I decide that I don’t like it?” Yes, you can change your major if you desire. Switching between major is more common than you think! According to a study done on college students and the rate of changing majors, 1 out of every 3 students will most likely change their major while in college1 out of every 3 students will most likely change their major while in college. In our current generation, changing jobs will most likely be part of your reality as well. Read more about the common practice of changing your major from the article mentioned earlier: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/12/08/nearly-third-students-change-major-within-three-years-math-majors-most

 

Tips on how to find out more information about majors? 

  • The best place to start is speaking with an academic counselor at your college. They are prepared and equipped with skills to help you uncover the correct major for you. You do not need to have a specific major selected when you see a counselor but it will help for you to come with as many ideas and possible options you may be considering

  • If you can’t identify what you want, make a list of the majors you know you don’t want to pursue and why 

  • Consider the earning potential of the jobs you are thinking about 

  • If you are between multiple majors, maybe consider one of the options as a minor instead of a major

Websites to Personal Exploration: 

 

Making a Choice About Your Future

Alas, you have learned about your identity, strengths, and personal skills. That personal exploration has helped you gather personal information and should help you deciding on a career or career field of interest. With a career in mind, hopefully you were able to identify one or more majors that would relate to the career goal you wish to pursue. Now that you have made some decisions, it is time to make it happen!

Step 1: Gather Your Findings 
  • Get all the information you have found over the self-exploration period and if possible, dial down your findings to your top key points

Step 2: Make an appointment with an Academic Counselor
  • Visit your FYE Counselor by visiting the Student Services Building, 2nd Floor or calling 323-953-4000 ext. 1264

  • Meet with a General Counselor in the appropriate setting: https://www.lacitycollege.edu/Academic-Info/Academic-Counseling/Counseling-Services

  • If you are part of a special program that has designated counselors, make sure to contact their office to make those appointments (Example: Break It to Make It, Dreamers, EOPS, Guardian Scholars, OSS, TRIO, etc. )

Step 3: Start Using All the New Knowledge You Gained
  • Make plans related to your goals and continue investigating what needs to be done in order to get to your desired position 

  • Volunteer, intern, and/or take employment opportunities in roles that you feel might be good options for you

  • Take introductory courses in the majors of interest to see how they are

  • Meet with professors during their office hours and conduct informational interviews to get even more information about the fields

  • Visit the campus Transfer Fair and Career Expo that will expose you to options in or around your local area

Step 4: Anticipate Challenges and be Open to Change 
  • Remember that this process is more of a journey than simply getting to the destination. You may decide on one major/career today and change it tomorrow. Although changing majors is perfectly normal, be conscious about the reasons why you are changing your pathway for it may lead to more personal discovery. Finding purpose usually exists at the end of a long and winding road. 

Step 5: Take Your Future to the Next Level 
  • Just as you have changed, so will your future. We do not know what the future will hold but today, we can create a plan. This plan can include personal, educational, and career aspirations at the core and we can build on it as we go. There are always ways to enhance your future, don’t be static and keep on progressing!

 Office Hours

Monday: 9:00am - 3:30pm
Tuesday: 9:00am - 3:30pm
Wednesday: 9:00am - 4:30pm
Thursday: 9:00am - 4:30pm
Friday: 9:00am - 2:00pm

 Contact Us

Student Services Building, 2nd Floor
(323) 953-4000 ext. 1264

 

Jessica Cerda
(323) 953-4000 ext. 2266
cerdaj@lacitycollege.edu

 See an FYE Counselor

Please visit our office for a walk-in academic counseling session or to make an appointment with the counselor. 

Los Angeles City College | 855 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles California 90029

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Phone: 323.953.4000

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Emergency: 323.953.2911