Top Ten Ways to Explore with Purpose
What do we mean when we encourage students to explore with purpose? Essentially, we are asking you to be intentional when searching for majors or careers of interests. At the University of Florida, there are over 100 majors available. Learning about these options and subsequently finding a good major fit is a process that requires ongoing self-assessment, frequent usage of many resources, and a willingness to be open to many possibilities!
For students on the exploratory track, the first three terms should be about exploring your options while trying to stay on track for different majors of interest. For example, when considering what General Education courses to take, choose from among those that also introduce you to different academic fields. Continue reading to discover more ties to your current plans and ensure that you are exploring with purpose while at the University of Florida.
- Browse the majors at UF in the Undergraduate Catalog. You may find it easier to narrow down majors based on interest area. For example, are you excited about pursuing a career in health care, studying wildlife and animal behavior, or learning about the law and legal issues? Use this resource to develop a short list of majors you are really interested in and then begin to research those majors further.
- Utilize the Career Connection Center. Consider taking the C.H.O.M.P. online assessment, then visiting the CCC to discuss your results. While you’re there, take advantage of other resources such as the career library and career counselors. Be sure to ask about the many internship, externship, and cooperative education opportunities offered through the CCC. These experiences can help you discover and broaden your interests.
- Run “what if” scenarios through your degree audit.. You use this function in ONE.UF to see how close you are to the tracking requirements of your major(s) of interest.
- Take some elective courses and discover your areas of interest. Often, students will need electives to meet their degree requirements, so do not worry that taking electives will put you behind your intended graduation date.
- Connect with faculty whose classes you’re enjoying. Visit your professors during office hours to learn more about their academic fields. This will also help you to begin building relationships for letters of recommendation that will be necessary if applying to graduate school, law school, etc.
- Meet with undergraduate advisors. Advisors will be able to provide information on how to get on-track for the major(s) you are considering. Find contact information for advisors by college at the college advising contacts page.
- Join a student organization. Student organizations provide an opportunity to learn valuable skills and gain leadership experience. Depending on the organization, you may also have a multitude of professional development opportunities available to you so you can begin to network and become more familiar with a specific interest area. A sortable list of Student Organizations can be found here through the Center for Student Activities and Involvement.
- Start volunteering. Time spent volunteering can shed light on areas of interest and aptitudes. It could also spark new interests. Volunteering can also allow you to continue networking, as well as give back to the community. To start volunteering, visit the Center for Leadership and Service.
- Conduct informational interviews. This is a great way to learn about a career from someone who is actually in that field. For an informational interview, you’ll want to schedule a meeting with someone who is currently working in an area in which you are interested. Consider asking questions such as: What is a typical day for you? How did you end up in this position? What do you enjoy most and least about your job? Additional sample information interview questions can be found here.
- Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This online resource provides a detailed profile of multiple careers. Each career entry includes the training and education requirements, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job, and working conditions. At the bottom of each entry, you can also view related occupations. This is a great way to learn about similar careers which you may not have had awareness of or previously considered pursuing.