Choosing Your Major and Certificate(s): A Self-Assessment
A study published in 2013 by two Federal Reserve staffers* found that only 27% of college graduates have jobs related to their majors. This is excellent news for you: you can study something that fits your interests, talents, and values, and it can lead down multiple, wonderful paths. Your major will help you to learn how to learn, and will hone your skills by allowing you to tap into the issues you are most passionate about. Getting to know yourself will be an important first step in selecting the right major! Answer the questions below (honestly!) and begin to look for patterns in your responses that will help you identify your best fit; then make an appointment to speak with an adviser to discuss your answers.
If you were given an unlimited budget to study any issue/problem, and had no limitations in your skill set, what would it be?
What do you like to do in your free time?
What section are you drawn to browse in the bookstore or online?
Name three texts (books, movies, music, theater, art, etc.) that had an important role in shaping the way you think today. What are they, and how did they inform your thinking?
What kinds of assignments do you look forward to doing most? What classes have been your favorites?
Where have you received praise in the past?
What kinds of assignments do you find most difficult?
What do your friends say your strengths are? Which of these words best describes you: Social, Entrepreneurial, Investigative, Artistic, Realistic? Why?
Who are the people you admire most? Why?
Describe the people you most like to hang out with.
What do you see as the most important social, scientific, or aesthetic problems facing the world (or your local community) right now?
If you could change one thing about your community, what would it be?
Do you work best in situations in which you are independent, do you prefer personalized attention, or do you like to work in large groups?
In what sort of learning environment or community do you work best? Smaller departments? Larger departments?
Where have you found faculty members and peers who are supportive and who motivate you?
What would you like to study beyond your major? Are there skills you’d like to cultivate? A passion you’d like to develop? Are there any outliers in your answers above that don’t fit a pattern?
What patterns do you observe? What Princeton majors do you feel map well onto your interests, talents, and values?
* Abel, Jaison R., and Deitz, R. “Do Big Cities Help College Graduates Find Jobs?” http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2013/05/do-big-cities-help-.... Liberty Street Economics, May 20, 2013.