OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Interests, Abilities, and Values

(Adapted from Major Decisions with permission from the author.)

 

As you start your major exploration process, consider the following questions:

What are your interests?

  • Think about the kinds of activities that you enjoy participating in, reading, studying, or talking about, or watching on TV?
  • What hobbies do you actively pursue?
  • Do you enjoy group activities or do you prefer working alone? Do you enjoy outdoor activities or being indoors?
  • Are you interested in science fiction, science fact, or neither?
  • What courses did you enjoy most in high school?
  • When you fantasize about a career, what do you think you would enjoy doing or being?
  • What kinds of activities are you not interested in and why?

What are your abilities?

  • Try to take an objective look at your past performance in scholastic as well as in non-scholastic work.
  • How do your college entrance exam scores and high school grades compare to those of other students?
  • How have others judged your academic performance in the past?
  • Have you won scholastic honors or awards for excellence in art, music, sports, or other performance areas?
  • Do you seem to have a natural talent for helping other people, working with numbers, influencing others, solving problems, using your hands, or organizing?
  • Do you have strong study skills? Do you have strong practice skills?
  • Are your abilities better suited to handle the work for one particular major over another?

What are your values?

  • Think about the values and principles that are guiding your life.
  • Do certain religious or philosophical beliefs and teachings influence your decisions and choices?
  • Do you consider service to others to be an important part of your personal philosophy?
  • Is a broad undergraduate education more important to you than a more narrowly focused program, or is the opposite true?
  • Do you value financial security above all else?
  • Where do you stand politically?
  • What are your moral values?
  • What place does family have in your future?
  • Will your values match the requirements and outcomes of a potential major/career?