A Major Decision (Part 2)

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Happy Halloween Tiger Family!!

Hey guys – it’s Kathryn again (UPIC Intern #2). It’s time for part two of our Clemson Majors series blog and, from what I can tell, it’s coming at a good point in this semester. Right around the end of October, it’s fairly common for students to realize they don’t feel confident in the major they’ve chosen or possibly get a little bit worried about what career options would be available with their major.

First of all, don’t worry. Again, these are pretty common questions at this point in the year and you are NOT alone. Secondly, the CCPD is here to help you. This blog is a resource that can help you start thinking about your options, but I want to encourage you to come in to see us at the Career Center, Co-Op and UPIC offices as well. We can help you figure out how to use the resources I’m about to list, as well as help you think through your options in a more personalized, tailored, face-to-face setting. To book an appointment, simply call (864) 656-6000 or come to our office on the 3rdfloor of Hendrix to schedule one in person. Also, another great option is to come to one of our drop-ins from 1:30-3:45!

This second installation of the Clemson Majors series is going to be about what resources you have available to you and what you can do if you find yourself in one of these scenarios:

  1. You realize that you’re in a major you don’t like and are thinking about switching to a different major but may be nervous because it’s stereotyped as having ‘less job opportunities and career paths’ than others
  2. You’re in a major that you enjoy but you’re just not sure of what you want to do with it or how to know what your post-graduation options are
  3. You’re in a major and know generally what you want to do but just don’t know how to get there

In that first scenario, I know it most likely feels incredibly stressful, but I just want to encourage you: we have a ton of resources to help you navigate this difficult decision. If you’re thinking through what a major change would look like, I would first encourage you to discuss your thoughts with a career counselor at the CCPD as well as an academic advisor. Sometimes it helps to just talk things through in order to make up your mind. However, we also have some resources on our website (https://career.sites.clemson.edu/michelin_career_center/career_development_recruiting/planning.php) that I would recommend looking into:

  1. Clemson Majors: https://www.clemson.edu/degrees/index.html
    1. This gives you an idea of what undergraduate and graduate programs are available here at Clemson, curriculum, where graduates from this major typically go, and companies that recent graduates have been hired by
  2. What Can You Do With This Major?: https://whatcanidowiththismajor.com/major/
    1. This website is pretty much what it sounds like – it walks you through various career paths that your major prepares you for and gives a brief overview
  3. Strong Interest Inventory: https://career.sites.clemson.edu/michelin_career_center/career_development_recruiting/assessment.php
    1. This assessment analyzes your interests and talents to match you with careers or industries that may interest you. This can’t tell you exactly what you should do (you are the only one who can decide your career path), but it is helpful in thinking through careers that you may not have considered before that could align with your interests or in confirming that you are in an area where you can thrive.

In the second scenario, I totally understand that worry – I’ve been there too. Again, you’re not in this alone. Whether you feel like you have too many options or too few, the CCPD will be there for you to help you figure out where you want to go and what you can do. Some resources (again found on our website) that I would recommend looking into for this question are:

  1. What Can You Do With This Major (link in previous)
  2. Occupational Outlook Handbook (or OOH): https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
    1. This resource provides a great deal of information on what certain job industries are like in regard to their pay, their day-to-day operations, what qualifications are needed, and many other characteristics that may help you decide on a career path.
  3. O*Net:https://www.onetonline.org
    1. The O*Net provides lots of information in respect to job growth, what is expected of you in the position, technology that you may need to know, as well as values that are often desired by employers. In some ways, it is similar to the OOH but I would recommend looking through both as they emphasize different information.
  4. Clemson Majors page (link in previous)
  5. Tipsheets on whether or not to go to grad school: https://career.sites.clemson.edu/michelin_career_center/career_development_recruiting/graduate_school/
    1. There are some majors out there that allow for more opportunity directly after graduation, but there are also some that, unless you have a graduate degree, there may be some closed doors. At the same time, graduate school is not for everyone. If you’re considering further schooling, I’d recommend looking into this resource.
  6. Job/Internship search engines like:
    1. ClemsonJobLink:https://career.sites.clemson.edu/clemsonjoblink/
    2. CareerShift:https://career.sites.clemson.edu/michelin_career_center/career_development_recruiting/careershift.php
    3. GoingGlobal:https://career.sites.clemson.edu/michelin_career_center/career_development_recruiting/going_global/

I know that’s quite a lot, so I would actually recommend coming in to visit the Career Center after exploring a couple of these resources. We can give you tips for how to use these resources in the most efficient and best way for you, as well as answering or walking you through any questions that you may have.

Lastly, if you’re in a major you do enjoy but you’re just not sure how to get your career started, we have resources to help you with that too! These consist of programs you can use to research what career paths are out there and the requirements involved, networking opportunities that you can utilize, and ways you can get experience to learn what the day-to-day of a career would look like.

  1. Occupational Outlook Handbook (link in previous)
  2. Informational Interviewing and Backdoor Approach: https://career.sites.clemson.edu/michelin_career_center/career_development_recruiting/web_handouts.php#open(professional networking category)
    1. These are avenues through which you can find out about possible career paths and/or how to break into the industry. Informational interviewing is when you sit down with someone in the field/position you’re interested in, and essentially interview them about what it entails. This gets you on their radar when they think about possible job openings and candidates, which is to your advantage (what we call the “backdoor approach” to finding a job).
  3. Internships (Off-campus, Co-Ops, or UPIC internships)
    1. Lastly, one very helpful way to learn about jobs and make contacts in those industries is through interning with an organization where you can get some field experience. This can also help you decide if you really do what to go into that career path.
      1. General Internship: https://career.sites.clemson.edu/internship_programs/
      2. Co-Op: https://career.sites.clemson.edu/cooperative_education/
      3. UPIC: https://career.sites.clemson.edu/internship_programs/UPIC_program/index.php


While these are just a few scenarios and you may not find yourself in any of them, I would still suggest you look through these resources. It never hurts to prepare for the future or think through how to get where you want to go. And, while I know I just threw a lot of resources and information at you, we are here to help you understand all of this. We want to help you answer your questions, not create more. So, if any of this was confusing to you or you want to know more, again, please come in for drop-ins or schedule an appointment!

I hope this blog helped alleviate some of that mid-semester stress!

Happy Halloween, and – as always – go Tigers!


CCPD drop in hours: Monday through Friday, 1:30 – 3:45

To set up an appointment, call (864) 643-9449

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