Choosing a Major

 
Your major is your area of strongest academic interest, and it will be your main focus during your last two years of college. It should not be confused with determining your specific career, but of course the kinds of thinking and skills you develop as you pursue a major will be an asset to you as you determine your career. Maybe you've looked at all the John Jay majors and know exactly which one you want. A lot of students aren’t so sure, and wonder about the “best” way to choose a major. There isn’t one strategy followed by everyone, but here are some tips to make the process easier for you:
                                                          
--It's important to choose a major that matches your interests and goals, as well as your academic strengths so you can develop the knowledge and skills most valuable to you. Start there, with you.


--Understand the kinds of majors available at John Jay, so you choose one with an emphasis that appeals to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                    
--Be clear about the requirements and work involved in the different majors. Don't assume anything!


--Many students ask what majors will prepare them for certain careers--something we call the academic/career connection. Be careful about making assumptions. You will likely be surprised when you do our Fact or Fiction exercise.


--If you're having trouble deciding about your major, you're not alone. Various factors can make choosing a major challenging. Remember that the Academic Advisement Center and the Center for Career and Professional Development have staff who are happy to talk with you about your interests, goals, and questions. Also, don’t forget the wonderful on-line resources available to you as you create an academic plan that gives you the kind of skills and experiences that prepare you for life after college.


--Interested in study abroad or an internship? It might be possible to count credits from those experiences towards your major. Talk with the Office of International Studies and the Center for Career & Professional Development to explore some possibilities. You can also talk with a coordinator for your chosen major to see what programs would be most likely to give you credit for that major. You can find contact information for the major coordinators listed under each major in the most current Undergraduate Bulletin and on the John Jay website list of majors.

Don’t forget to make good use of the Degree Works Audit, which can help you keep track of how many credits you’ve earned, what requirements you’ve completed, and which requirements you still need to finish. Remember that this is a very useful but not 100% accurate tool, so check in with an Academic Advisor to confirm where you stand in terms of your degree progress. It’s also very important to consult the Undergraduate Bulletin that was in effect when you declared your major to determine your Degree Works Audit’s accuracy when it comes to completing your major requirements. The absolute best approach is to access both the Audit and the Bulletin at the same time, since together they provide extremely helpful information.

Be sure to check out our Finish-in-Four Major Templates, which give you examples of how you can finish not only your major, but all your degree requirements in four years!