Exploratory Studies Program


PSU Biology

 

Not sure what to study? Join the club. At least a quarter of Pitt State Freshmen, and a large number of students transferring to PSU, come to campus without having decided on a major. Pitt State's Exploratory Studies Program is perfect for students like you.

What if I've already declared a major? It is common for students to realize that their initial major choice is not the right fit for them. You are welcome to switch to exploratory studies or even meet with one of our academic counselors to discuss changing your major. We are here to help you figure out what major is right for you!

What is the Exploratory Studies Program? Students meet early and often with advisors who help them choose courses from different areas, so they can explore possible academic interests. Advisors will help you find and focus on that place where your strengths dovetail with what you like because that intersection has the greatest potential to yield a satisfying major. 

Programs like Pitt State's Exploratory Studies Program are rare at colleges in the region, most of which ask you to choose a major right from the start. We think our approach makes perfect sense. There are a lot of choices at Pitt State. Why not take your time and choose wisely?

Below we have steps for you to complete as a student who is exploring majors. You may choose to conduct all these steps at once or in segments. We have provided To-Do Lists to help serve as a reference guide. 


Steps for Major Exploration


Incoming Freshmen & Transfer Students
  • Step 1: What is a major?
  • Step 2: Self-Assessment
  • Step 3: Using Our Resources
  • Step 4: Take Action

A major is an opportunity to focus on an academic area of interest for a portion of your coursework.

Pitt State's Academic Programs, along with majors can be found here.

What a major is not:

  • It is not your identity. A major does not define you or constrict you to certain areas in life. A major is a small portion of your academic career; your academic career is made up of core curriculum requirements (Pitt State Pathway), a possible second major, a possible minor, internships, study abroad experience, membership in student organizations, and many more opportunities that you choose to engage in. Your academic career encompasses a variety of elements that introduce you to new ideas and help you develop skills for life after college.
  • It is not always your career. A major can help provide you with the knowledge to enter a specific career field, but it can also indirectly apply to other career fields. A labor market analytics firm called Emsi conducted a study that found that only 27% of college graduates work in jobs that were directly related to their major (Fain, 2019). Pitt State's academic departments and classes also focus on transferable skills that students can take into any career field. These skills include, but are not limited to: effectively working with a team, leadership skills, communication skills, research, and analyzing problems.
  • It is personal and unique to YOU. Every individual is unique in their own ways. Parents, friends, and mentors are great sources of advice, but YOU know yourself better than anyone else. You know what excites you, what you want to be apart of, what makes you excited to go to class, and what you are curious about. As a student, you will do well in a subject area that you find interesting and that YOU want to pursue. 
What major should I choose? Find a major with classes and information that you enjoy learning about. If you can find a subject that you are passionate or curious about, then you will do well and continue to grow as a student and person.

To choose a major, it is important to understand and learn more about yourself! You can learn about yourself through four categories:

  1. Values: This is one of the most important factors that can help you decide on a major. What principles or behaviors are important to you? What is important for you to have in your career? We recommend the "Clarifying Your Work Values" exercise, to help illuminate the values that you may look for in a major or career.
  2. Personality: Your personality type is something you are born with and does not change throughout your life. Are you extroverted or introverted? Do you crave organization and structure? Do you like working indoors or outdoors? We recommend taking the 16 Personalities Test to learn about your personality type!
  3. Interests: What do you like to do in your free time? Do you like working on a computer or giving presentations? To help find your interests and how they relate to a career field, take the O*Net Interest Profiler!
  4. Skills or Abilities: These consist of things that you are good at. Are you comfortable with math? Do you enjoy analyzing research? Can you be creative with projects? The Skills Matcher can help you find careers that match your skills.

We cannot emphasize enough how important a self-assessment is. Be sure to take the time to understand who you are and what you value!

Also, when you finish an assessment, save your results in a PDF. Then you can reference the results at a later time without having to retake the assessment!

Utilize Pitt State's resources to explore career and major options that align with your self-assessment.

  • If you feel overwhelmed looking at the list of academic programs or are still unsure, we recommend using the Gorilla Guide for Majors Activity. This document has all of the majors and minors that are offered at PSU. Print off the document and simply cross off any majors that you are NOT interested in.
  • You may have to use the Academic Programs website to research what some of the academic programs entail. You can even look at our Online Programs as well! Or you can watch videos on some academic departments!
  • Not sure what job opportunities fall under a specific major? Use MyPlan to help you find specific jobs, show job requirements, salaries, industries, and more! This can help you decide if you would consider that academic area as a possibility for your major.
  • Once you have crossed off the majors that you are NOT interested in, go back through and look at the majors you have left. Then, complete the reflection questions on the last page to complete the reflection activity! This will help you narrow down the majors to the ones that you are interested in.

Once you have done some self-reflecting and identified some potential major options you can:

  • Narrow it down to five majors that you are interested in.
  • Schedule a campus visit through our Admissions Office and ask to meet with an academic advisor of an intended major on your campus visit.
  • Before the visit, create five questions that you would like to ask the academic advisor on your visit. (What jobs have students received after graduation? What internship opportunities on campus are available? What are some of the courses that I would take in this major? Do you require a minor or emphasis?, etc.)
  • Take those questions with you on your visit. It is always great to show up prepared and show that you care and value your academic career!
  • Take time to reflect on your time and conversations on campus. You may choose to reflect through journaling or conversations with others.
  • If you would like more guidance, you are welcome to reach out to a Student Success Counselor before Pitt CARES.
    • You can schedule an appointment with a Student Success Counselor by calling 620-235-6578 or email studentsuccess@pittstate.edu
    • If these steps helped you find a major to pursue, awesome! If these steps helped you narrow it down to a few majors, but you still are not sure, great! The Exploratory Studies Program can be a great home for first and second-year students who would like to dive further into career exploration.
  • Transfer Students: If you are still on the fence about a major, we highly recommend meeting with a Student Success Counselor since your time frame to choose a major is a little smaller. 
Current Students
  • Step 1: What is a major?
  • Step 2: Self-Assessment
  • Step 3: Using Our Resources
  • Step 4: Take Action

A major is an opportunity to focus on an academic area of interest for a portion of your coursework.

Pitt State's Academic Programs, along with majors can be found here.

What a major is not:

  • It is not your identity. A major does not define you or constrict you to certain areas in life. A major is a small portion of your academic career; your academic career is made up of core curriculum requirements (Pitt State Pathway), a possible second major, a possible minor, internships, study abroad experience, membership in student organizations, and many more opportunities that you chose to engage in. Your academic career encompasses a variety of elements that introduce you to new ideas and help you develop skills for life after college.
  • It is not always your career. A major can help provide you with the knowledge to enter a specific career field, but it can also indirectly apply to other career fields. A labor market analytics firm called Emsi conducted a study that found that only 27% of college graduates work in jobs that were directly related to their major (Fain, 2019). Pitt State's academic departments and classes also focus on transferable skills that students can take into any career field. These skills include, but are not limited to: effectively working with a team, leadership skills, communication skills, research, and analyzing problems.
  • It is personal and unique to YOU. Every individual is unique in their own ways. Parents, friends, and mentors are great sources of advice, but YOU know yourself better than anyone else. You know what excites you, what you want to be apart of, what makes you excited to go to class, and what you are curious about. As a student, you will do well in a subject area that you find interesting and that YOU want to pursue. 
What major should I choose? Find a major with classes and information that you enjoy learning about. If you can find a subject that you are passionate or curious about, then you will do well and continue to grow as a student and person. 

To choose a major, it is important to understand and learn more about yourself! You can learn about yourself through four categories:

  1. Values: This is one of the most important factors that can help you decide on a major. What principles or behaviors are important to you? What is important for you to have in your career? We recommend the "Clarifying Your Work Values" exercise, to help illuminate the values that you may look for in a major or career.
  2. Personality: Your personality type is something you are born with and does not change throughout your life. Are you extroverted or introverted? Do you crave organization and structure? Do you like working indoors or outdoors? We recommend taking the 16 Personalities Test to learn about your personality type!
  3. Interests: What do you like to do in your free time? Do you like working on a computer or giving presentations? To help find your interests and how they relate to a career field, take the O*Net Interest Profiler!
  4. Skills or Abilities: These consist of things that you are good at. Are you comfortable with math? Do you enjoy analyzing research? Can you be creative with projects? The Skills Matcher can help you find careers that match your skills.

We cannot emphasize enough how important a self-assessment is. Be sure to take the time to understand who you are and what you value!

Also, when you finish an assessment, save your results in a PDF. Then you can reference the results at a later time without having to retake the assessment!

Utilize Pitt State's resources to explore career and major options that align with your self-assessment.

  • If you feel overwhelmed looking at the list of academic programs or are still unsure, we recommend using the Gorilla Guide for Majors Activity. This document has all of the majors and minors that are offered at PSU. Print off the document and simply cross off any majors that you are NOT interested in. You may have to use the Academic Programs website to research what some of the academic programs entail. Or you can watch videos on some academic departments!
  • You can even look at our Online Programs as well!
  • Not sure what job opportunities fall under a specific major? Use MyPlan to help you find specific jobs, show job requirements, salaries, industries, and more! This can help you decide if you would consider that academic area as a possibility for your major.
  • Once you have crossed off the majors that you are NOT interested in, go back through and look at the majors you have left. Then, complete the reflection questions on the last page to complete the reflection activity! This will help you narrow down the majors to the ones that you are interested in.

Once you have done some self-reflecting and identified some potential major options you can:

  • Meet with an academic advisor within the college or department of the major you are considering
  • Meet with a Career Services Staff member to discuss majors
  • Take our Career Explorations course (PSYCH*230: 1 credit hour) A course that looks at the world of work, helping you link your interests and your area of study to a lucrative career path.
  • Meet with one of our Student Success Counselors to discuss declaring a major or being apart of the Exploratory Studies program
    • You can schedule an appointment with a Student Success Counselor by calling 620-235-6578 or email studentsuccess@pittstate.edu
    • If these steps helped you find a major to pursue, awesome! If these steps helped you narrow it down to a few majors, but you still are not sure, great! The Exploratory Studies Program can be a great home for first and second-year students who would like to dive further into career exploration.



Questions?


Contact Student Success Programs

Location: 113 Axe Library

Phone: 620-235-6578

Email: studentsuccess@pittstate.edu

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm