How to Navigate Difficult Career Decisions and Major Declarations:
Wise Words from an Academic Advisor
by Corinna Kraemer, Goodwin University Academic Advisor
As the New Year and a new semester begin in January, this can be a crucial period to evaluate your career options and set into motion some changes you may be considering.
If you’ve been thinking about changing your major, no need to worry! Data shows that about one-third of undergraduate students change their major at least once in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree!
Luckily, at Goodwin, there are more than 40 majors from which to choose. There are also events, faculty and staff, and various resources available to help guide you toward your academic and career goals.
Below, are eight career development tips to help guide your student success this semester.
- Look introspectively to learn more
If you are on the fence about changing your major, ask yourself if you identify with any of the following student descriptors.
- The Big-Changes Student: Have you experienced a significant life change such as a job switch, cross-country move, or welcoming a new child that has caused a difference in your professional perspective?
- The Jack-of-all-Trades Student: Do you feel overwhelmed by limiting yourself to just one major? Do you feel compelled by multiple interests?
- The One-Track-Mind Student: Did you decide on your major before giving it much thought? Did your decision feel rushed, influenced by others’ perceptions, or with limited research?
- The Struggling Student: Are you not meeting the mark in your courses, feeling unmotivated, or does something just not seem right?
- The Student Under Pressure: Are you feeling the pressure of a competitive admissions process, the possibility of financial aid running out, or the time it takes to complete a degree?
- The Undecided Student: Have you not yet listed a major and have the deadline to declare looming? Have you heard from a friend about their major and thought, “That sounds like something I’d like to study, but I need to learn more?”
These are certainly not the only reasons students change their major — you may even find yourself fitting in several categories — and that’s okay!
The critical point is that you consider taking these sequential steps.
- Arrange a meeting with your academic advisor A.S.A.P.
The best time to start a conversation with your academic advisor about exploring other majors is as soon as possible!
- Every student at Goodwin University is assigned an academic advisor. If you are not sure who your academic advisor is, you can look them up online or in your Sonis account.
- If you wish to explore several major selections, your academic advisor can help you create an individualized academic plan unique to you and your interests.
- Academic advisors can point you in the right direction for other resources, too! They can arrange meetings with a program director, explore major requirements, and even connect you with an academic tutor.
- Consult your career specialist
At Goodwin, we know that our students are career driven; that’s why every Goodwin student and graduate has access to our career specialists who have extensive experience working in an array of professional fields.
- Goodwin students are generally assigned a career specialist based on their specific major. If you are interested in considering other majors (for example, switching from Health Sciences to Business), you have the option to work with any career specialist you choose.
- Career specialists can guide you through any inquiry you may have, as well as career options and outcomes related to your interests or major.
- Career specialists can also help you create and polish your résumé, develop a compelling cover letter, and practice your interviewing skills!
- Take the FOCUS2 career test
Goodwin students have the opportunity to take the FOCUS2 career assessment — an assessment that integrates your interests, personality, skills, and more, to align your career goals with the most appropriate major for you.
- The FOCUS2 assessments take about 10-15 minutes each. After you complete seven assessments, each provides additional information regarding your career alignment.
- Once completed, you may meet with your academic advisor or career specialist to discuss your results, look at different program options, and declare a major that best matches your interests.
- Contact your academic advisor or career specialist to get started.
- Formulate your options with your financial aid counselor
At Goodwin, we certainly understand that many of our students work full time and have families — so, we know that affordability and timeliness of degree completion are often a top priority.
- You may find chatting with a financial aid counselor about your decision to change your major helpful.
- Goodwin’s Financial Aid staff determines a students’ financial aid eligibility when they receive their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. If you have not already done so, please go to www.studentaid.gov to submit your FAFSA.
- Financial Aid staff is also available to help you understand the financial aid package you receive. Awarded financial aid can include institutional scholarships, grants, and federal student loans.
- Be proactive and talk to your professors
Goodwin professors are experts in their field and love to enlighten prospective students about the profession.
- If you enjoyed a particular course and would like to learn more about working in the field, set up an “informational interview” with your professor.
- You may also ask them about their experience entering the field, work opportunities they had, educational requirements, and more.
- Your professor may also be able to provide you with insider tips and advice on navigating the particular career you wish to explore.
- Frequent career fairs
If you’re ready to begin your job search or are just starting at Goodwin, career fairs present opportunities to network and get to know some of the employers that hire Goodwin graduates.
- Goodwin career fairs take place in the fall and spring seasons and can span over multiple days — with each day typically focusing on a group of interrelated majors. Career fairs can also help you explore questions like, “Do I see myself working in this type of career someday?”
- Access your newbie networks and alumni resources
Whether you’re a proud Goodwin University graduate, or a new student seeking advice, you have a lifetime of accessibility to Goodwin’s Career Services.
- If you are job searching or thinking about a career change, contact a Career Services specialist any time.
- Career Services knows that Goodwin students balance many responsibilities, and our advisors are happy to work around your schedule.
By utilizing the eight steps listed above, you will be prepared to tailor your Goodwin experience towards a meaningful major and memorable career.
There is so much that Goodwin offers — all you need to do is ask!
We’d love to hear from you.
Call us today: 800.889.3282 or learn more at www.goodwin.edu/academic-advising/.
Corinna Kraemer is a dedicated educator and creator, with experience in Health Science, Psychology, Communication, and Art History. With a passion for education, Corinna believes in the power of people pursuing their interests and dreams, no matter how out of reach the goal may seem.
Corinna has served as an executive board member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the New England College Personnel Association (NECPA). Through these roles, she found that her true calling catered to working with college students and other professionals who seek to promote academic success.
Corinna recently finished her Master’s in Student Affairs Administration at Springfield College and will begin her Master’s in Communication at the University of Hartford in the fall of 2020.
An Academic Advisor for Health and Natural Sciences students, Corinna brings her unique experiences and unparalleled enthusiasm to Goodwin University. As a lifelong learner, Corinna is honored to help Goodwin students recognize their potential and shape their aspirations into a successful reality.