Choosing a Major
Choosing a major can take time and exploration.
- Realize that choosing a major is a process. We want you to be able to explore many different academic areas in your first year.
- Ask yourself some important questions: What do I want to be known for? Who am I? What are my passions, gifts, and my purpose? The Vocational Reflection web page includes a series of important questions that can help you think deeply about your purpose and goals in life.
- Review the majors at Hampden-Sydney College. Think about your interests and academic strengths. Cross out the majors that you know you have little interest in pursuing.
- Use the services of the Office of Career Education and Vocational Reflection. Workshops and information sessions can give you new ideas. Meeting one-on-one with a career counselor can help you explore your interests, learn about careers, and find internship opportunities. Completing FOCUS, a computer based inventory, can help you learn more about careers that suit your values, skills, and interests.
- Some career choices are closely tied to a certain major. Often, though, the connection is not that clear. Career Tiger Tracks is a series of documents designed to help you chart your course by providing you with a roadmap of classes, extracurricular activities, resources, and alumni connections that help you reach your goals.
- Talk to people close to you. Ask family and friends about their careers and how their education prepared them. Often the people who know you best will see skills and potential in you that you haven’t yet realized.
- Meet with an academic counselor in the Office of Academic Success. Academic Counselors can discuss the major requirements of a variety of disciplines and can help you assess what might best suit your academic interests and strengths.
- Volunteer or apply for an internship in a field that interests you. Ask to shadow someone who has a career or educational background that interests you. These experiences will give you a sense of the day to day job expectations and how well they match your academic interests.
- Talk with your Academic Advisor. New student advisors are broadly trained to help students plan their academic path.
- Take a class in an area that interests you. Talk with your professor and peers who share this academic interest. Ask them about their path, what they have enjoyed and what challenges they have faced.
- Attend seminars on campus. Join a student group that is related to an area of academic interest. Take on a student leadership role. Get involved. And finally, ask lots of questions!
Things to remember:
Your major is a small part of what you will do at Hampden-Sydney. Isn’t it funny that the first thing people ask when you say you’re going to college is: “What’s your major?”
At H-SC, you will need 120 credits to graduate. About half of those credits will come from the Core Curriculum. The Core is the most important thing you will do here. The Core Curriculum is designed to help you learn to communicate effectively, think critically, work collaboratively, and solve problems creatively. This is what employers want! Thirty to thirty-four of your total credits will come from your major. Your major is a chance for you to focus more narrowly on an academic discipline that interests you. You will be more successful if you choose an area you enjoy! Employers want people who are passionate and driven.
Students will find that once they complete the requirements of the Core Curriculum and their major, they have 26 - 30 credits left to complete. Use those credits wisely! They can become a second major or a minor. They can also become a carefully-crafted selection of electives that can help you reach your career and life goals. No class is “just an elective!” Students can choose electives in any area including creative writing, business, art, public speaking, computer science, languages, and many more. This is a chance for you to customize your degree to get the most out of the Hampden-Sydney experience.