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Lehman College

Department of Biology


A Guide to Choosing a Major

Although some students come to college knowing exactly what major to choose and what career path to follow, many students are uncertain. Choosing a major and a career can be confusing and stressful. This document will guide you in narrowing your focus on a few possible majors and ultimately choosing one as your major. Some students decide to do double majors or a major and a minor.  Bear in mind that choosing a major is not a final commitment; students sometimes change their major while in college.

  • Asses your interests and ambitions – What excites you? What are your career goals? What kind of job do you wish to find?  If you don’t know the answer to these questions, take a self-test available at the Lehman College Career Services to help you answer these questions.
  • Consider your abilities – What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What can you do that sets you apart from others? One way to find out is to look at your high school or college transcript. Think of your best subject and your worst subject. Also, think of skills you have that may help you find a career.
  • Examine your values – What do you value in your work? For example, do you want to help others? Do you want to earn lots of money? Can you work under pressure? Do you like to work alone or in a group?  Are you looking for stability, security or status?
  • Investigate careers – What careers are available for the major of your choice? What is the occupational outlook for a particular major? You can search for answers by going to the Career Services, or by searching the Web.
  • Evaluate all your options – What are your goals and ambitions? What are your dreams? What does it take to achieve your goals? How motivated are you and how hard are you willing to work to see your dreams come true? Do you have any personal, family or financial constraints that may prevent you from doing your best? Try to be honest with yourself when answering these questions. Remember that once you know the realities, you can overcome most obstacles if you are motivated and determined to succeed.
  • Take advantage of many resources available to you – read the Lehman College catalog to learn about programs and opportunities provided by the college. Talk to your professors and academic adviser to get information including, how you can qualify for a particular career and how to get internships. Talk to classmates in their final years of college to see how they have prepared themselves for careers. Seniors can be a great source for figuring out what things to do and not to do while in college. Finally, use the Career Services to get information on choosing a major and a career, as well as finding internships and jobs.
  • Know the requirements for a major – once you have identified the majors that interest you, find out the requirements for each one. See if you can meet those requirements within the time frame that you have set for yourself to complete your degree. Talk to the academic adviser of the department that offers the major of your choice to get more information.