How to Choose a Major

Explore Center Staff advising student

Exploring majors and careers is an active process, one that is unique to each student. The diagram below highlights the steps of this process and is a good resource to help you get started on this journey. Some students will benefit from all stages of the process while other students may find certain stages more critical than others. It is important to note that some students may find it beneficial to revisit some stages more than once.

Not sure where to start? The Explore Center has a career advisor and academic advisors available to help you navigate the exploration process. Schedule here to meet with an academic or career advisor.

Schedule an appointment

Exploring majors and careers, assess, investigate, connect, experiment, decide

Choosing a Major


Self-assessments help you understand yourself by identifying your interests, skills and values. Majors and careers intersecting with all three will likely be a good fit for you.

Nebraska Offers these Assessments, Tools and Resources

  • Focus 2: Offers interest, skills, values and personality inventories that connect to career fields and UNL Majors. Free with access code: huskers.
  • My Next Move: Identifies interests and connects them to career fields.
  • StrengthsQuest: After taking this assessment, print your results and meet with a Career Advisor to discuss your top five talent themes and how to leverage your strengths. Cost: $11.99 with a university email address.


The more you know about majors and careers, the better you can relate those to your interests, skills and values. During your research, consider educational requirements, career paths, salary, and job demand.

Nebraska Offers these Following Tools and Resources

  • Nebraska Undergraduate Catalog: Describes the degree requirements for majors and minors at Nebraska.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook: Provides information on working conditions, salary, job setting and other important factors that can play a part in career exploration.
  • Handshake: Lists available internships, part-time and full-time jobs and their descriptions for Nebraska students and alumni.
  • "What Can I Do With This Major?": Connects career paths with majors.
  • O*Net: Provides an interactive application for searching and exploring occupations, including career exploration and assessment tools.
  • Whether you are exploring majors or careers, or preparing for a job interview Candid Career has the videos to help!


At Nebraska, you will meet and work with people who have diverse perspectives and experiences. These connections are a valuable part of your major and career exploration. Below are some great ways to develop new and utilize existing connections in your network throughout your exploration process.

Nebraska Offers these Following Opportunities to Connect

  • Career Fairs: Connect with both local and national employers offering internships, part-time and full-time job opportunities.
  • University Major Fairs: Explore academic majors through conversations with staff from each of the Nebraska colleges in a relaxed, fun setting.
  • Informational Interviewing: Meet with an expert in the area you are exploring. Faculty, advisors or professionals are a great place to start.
  • Student Involvement: Nebraska offers over 500 clubs and student organizations that cover a wide range of interest areas. Involvement can help you develop leadership skills and build connections.
  • Networking: Meeting, connecting and learning from both new contacts and existing relationships that you already have.
  • Shadowing: Explore a career by observing a professional in the field.


While research, making connections and networking are all important parts of the major and career exploration process, sometimes a person can only know if something is right for them when they test it out firsthand.

UNL offers these following tools, and resources

  • Exploratory Coursework: Explore your interests, skills, and values and connect them with majors and pre-professional fields. Meet with your advisor before enrolling in courses.
  • Research: Work one-on-one with faculty to explore a variety of majors and fields.
  • Education Abroad: Experience different cultures while learning more about yourself to help you make informed major and career decisions.
  • Volunteering: Assist non-profit organizations, which enables you to identify what you want in a future position.


Decision-making is the process of gathering information, weighing potential options, and selecting a course of action. Everyone makes decisions differently and there are many strategies that you can employ.

  • Reflect: Consider information and emotions to imagine what it would be like if you carried out each of your options.
  • Compare: Think about what you like and dislike about each of your options. Is there one option that stands above the rest?
  • Take Action: Undecided students, declare your major by visiting the Explore Center in 127 Love Library South. To explore career paths, visit Career Services in 225 Nebraska Union.

    Declare your major

    Start your job search

Remember, decision-making is a fluid process that requires periodic review. It may be valuable to revisit any of the steps in the major and career exploration process to reaffirm decisions you have made or to change direction.