Selecting a College Major: Exploration and Decision Making / Edition 5

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This innovative text simplifies the process of choosing a major from a sometimes overwhelming array of majors and related career fields. It will assist not only the "undecided" student with selecting a major, but also the "major-changer" who is exploring alternative options.

A step-by-step process leads students through personal and academic assessment as well as occupational information searches. Through thought-provoking activities, they can explore their academic, career, and personal interests and goals. Students can investigate academic majors from many perspectives, including a search of majors in general, majors on their campus, and majors based on their academic and occupational interests. Highlights of this text include:

  • A Natural Decision-Making Progression. Students are directly and personally involved in activities that involve exploration, reflection, and choice.
  • Extensive Major Exploration. Three distinct approaches help students narrow their List to realistic alternatives.
  • Incorporation of Academic and Career Interests, Abilities, and Values. Self-assessment gives students information on which to base their choice of a major.
  • Formulation of a Graduation Plan. Students use their academic transcripts to summarize all they have Learned and develop a plan for the future.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130395856
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Choosing a college major can be a difficult and sometimes confusing decision for many students. First-year college students, in particular, have little experience with many of the academic disciplines represented in college curricula. They have limited understanding of how knowledge is "artificially" divided into smaller units or disciplines and how the sum of this knowledge is interrelated and intertwined.

Many entering students have only a vague idea of what a "major" entails, not only in the coursework required, but in its reallife applications in the work world. Some students wrongly perceive that their choice of major leads directly to a "job."

With the bewildering array of educational and career options available today, many students choose to be "undecided" when they enter college. They recognize the advantage of exploring the academic options open to them on their campus. This workbook is designed to assist them in this information-gathering and deciding process.

Often students want or need to change the major they initially chose. Some change for personal reasons, such as a lack of interest in the subject matter or exposure to other academic areas that lead to new interests. Some students cannot retain their initial choice of major because of their inability to perform academically at a certain level in the required coursework. This problem, in addition to the limited number of applicants taken into some selective or oversubscribed majors, creates a situation that forces students to choose other majors.

Advanced students who are rethinking an earlier choice might be somewhat constrained by their earned academic credit that may not be viable for some of thealternative majors they are considering. Students who are in the process of changing majors need the type of academic advising that can help them integrate previous course credit into new directions. Up until now, there has been no publication to help this large (and sometimes unrecognized or unacknowledged) group of students explore other choices in a systematic way. This workbook has been developed to assist not only the "undecided" student with selecting a major, but also the "major-changer" who is exploring alternative options.

Unit One encourages students to review (heir current academic situation and helps them assess their method for approaching and making decisions, both past and present. Unit Two involves students in self-assessment and helps them consider their personal strengths and limitations. Unit Three is concerned with identifying and exploring various academic major options from three perspectives. Students select several realistic majors and collect detailed information about them.

Once these academic areas have been identified, students explore related occupational fields in Unit Four. Unit Five helps them narrow down alternatives so that appropriate academic planning can take place. Developing an academic graduation plan helps students summarize all they have learned into a practical vehicle for future planning and implementation. Unit Six guides students in implementing their academic major decision. The appendix offers an optional opportunity for students who are interested in developing their resume writing and job searching skills.

This workbook leads students through an orderly, rational approach to selecting a college major. Not only are students encouraged to gather detailed educational and career information, but they are also encouraged to identify their feelings about the process as they are experiencing it. The authors hope this combination of cognitive and affective searching will lead to satisfying, long-term, realistic educational decisions.

This new edition reflects the incredible technological advancement of the Internet, which provides the information resources that are so important in educational and occupational decision making. Internet resources include those for assessing one's personal interests, abilities, and values; information about myriad educational options; and (perhaps the most extensive) information resources for exploring occupational fields that have direct or indirect connections to academic areas. Many of the assignments in this workbook require students to access the Internet for this information.

The authors wish to thank George Steele, Melinda McDonald, Deb Serling, and Tracy Tupman, whose understanding and sensitivity to these types of college students provided many insights into the approaches used in this workbook. For sharing their expertise with us as reviewers of this new edition, special thanks to Jackie Balzer, Oregon State University; Pamela Church, Skagit Valley College; Ann Hein, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Deborah McCoy, University of California-Riverside; Elisabeth Meyer, SUNY Brockport; Allyson Tanouye, University of Hawaii at Manoa; and Kathleen Thayer, Purdue University.

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Table of Contents


UNIT ONE: Taking Stock.

UNIT TWO: Exploring Self.

UNIT THREE: Exploring Majors.

UNIT FOUR: Exploring Occupations.

UNIT FIVE: Making a Decision.

UNIT SIX: Implementing Your Decision.

Appendix: The Job Search: Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interview Preparation.

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