By: Kerri Latham and Jeffrey Low
If you’re in your first year, you’re likely trying to decide which major to choose. There’s a lot of research, reflection and discovery that goes into making these “major” decisions. (Notice what we did there?) So, it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed or unsure where to start.
Program decisions are among the many choices you will make as you navigate your education and career journey. It’s okay if you aren’t 100% certain yet, and we recommend that you stay open to new ideas along the way. Here are some tips, suggestions and resources to help you research, reflect, explore and develop a plan.
Check out program websites and the course calendar to explore all your options. Think of ways you might want to customize your education further by exploring minors, internships, experiential learning opportunities, field courses, thesis options, co-ops or global opportunities (study, work or volunteer abroad).
Some research tips:
- Explore program websites for course information and research areas.
- Learn about courses offered at all levels of the program to help you gauge your interest.
- Attend your Faculty’s “Choosing Level II” events, which typically occur every March.
- Chat with program department staff, Faculty academic advisors and student societies to learn more and ask questions.
- Use the course calendar to investigate the range of programs, minors, interdisciplinary minors, open courses, certificates and diplomas.
Reflect and explore
To help you explore programs and understand what options might be a good fit for you, we recommend that you reflect broadly on your interests, strengths and priorities using trusted career development tools and resources. This holistic approach will help you gain clarity and become more confident when it comes to making decisions about your education and career.
Some supports to help you reflect and explore:
Go beyond Google with your research: Use our curated resources to help you find reliable information about careers and further education options. Find information about careers by major, career databases and in-demand skills.
Digital Challenge Cards: Evaluate the challenges and impacts you want to make in your career with the Digital Challenge Cards assessment. Once you identify your challenges, you can explore, build and connect to develop your career.
Career Planning Essentials: This online program includes career assessments and activities to highlight your interests, personal strengths, skills and priorities. Then, you’ll be able to explore your options and make decisions with more confidence and understanding.
- Register for Career Planning Essentials on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Events. We post registration details in the first week of each month. You can register anytime during the month and work through the modules at your own pace.
Individualized career counselling: Have a confidential conversation with a professional to help you gain clarity and make decisions related to your career goals.
Consider your options and develop a plan
Now that you have more clarity on what you want and information on careers and programs, you’re in a great place to consider your options and develop some tentative plans.
Tanya Kett, SSC career counsellor, encourages you to be open when making plans and program decisions. “Think about the impact you want to make in your career, rather than the options associated with your program. This will help you expand your scope and put yourself at the centre of your career exploration in terms of your interests, personality and values. Choose a program you are truly interested in learning about, rather than just a ‘means to an end.’”
Ready to take action?
Apply for your major or program change choices on Mosaic in April. Then, you should get a decision from the university in June.
Check out this helpful resource from the Office of the Registrar for more information on the process.