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?