Taking the first step
If you’re undecided about your major, career, or goals, don’t worry you’re in the right place! We have the resources and experience to help you connect your interests and strengths to an academic major and career opportunities.
Exploration is an important part of the learning process at Whatcom. During your time here, you will grow and change as a student, a person, and as a citizen. Discovering your purpose, or your “why,” is what college is all about!
Choosing a major or career focus can be a daunting process, but we know you are up to the challenge!
Successful students take charge of their own exploration process, ask questions, and are committed to their academic and personal goals.
Absolutely! The classroom is not the only place to explore majors or careers, so getting a head start on this “homework” will give you an advantage when it comes to registering for classes.
Take a stroll through the Whatcom Degrees and Certificates page and gather information about the areas you find interesting. Are you interested in going to a university? Hoping to do a degree or certificate that will take you directly to the workforce? Starting to ask yourself these types of questions can kick off your exploration process.
Think actively about yourself and your values, such as:
- Which classes in your previous schooling did you like best? Why?
- What were your most difficult classes? Why?
- What kinds of hobbies or activities do you like? Why?
- What kind of community service do you enjoy? Why?
- What kinds of local/world problems do you want to solve? Why?
- What fields of study are you interested in learning about? Why?
If you find it difficult to answer these questions, that’s okay. Take some time to think about these throughout your exploration process. Another tactic to try is adding “not” to the questions. For example, what kinds of extracurricular activities do you NOT enjoy? See how your answers change.
It’s important to be aware that your degree does not define your career opportunities. Biology students can go on to become lawyers, history students can be entrepreneurs, business students can be great teachers, and so on. The wide range of skills you will learn during your college education can be applied to many professional endeavors. In a few specialized fields, such as nursing, civil engineering, elementary education, and others, a bachelor’s degree is required to begin professional school or to pursue additional credentials for specific career paths.
Overall, the best degree for you is one that matches your interests, strengths, and values.
Not sure what are your interests, strengths, and values? Meet with one of our awesome Career Counselors or take our career exploration class, Psych 105!
Preparing for the job market includes many activities, both in and out of the classroom. In general, many jobs will require some experience in the field, regardless of your major. If you learn a little about what employers are looking for, it will help you make decisions in your education and extracurricular activities that will help you achieve your professional goals.
You can earn credentials at Whatcom in fields such as paralegal, medical assisting, massage therapy, physical therapist assisting, substance use disorder professional, and nursing, or work toward a transfer degree in other fields.
- What Can I Do With This Major?
Learn about typical career areas and the types of employers that hire people with each major, as well as strategies to make you a more marketable candidate.
- Career Services At Whatcom
The Academic Success and Career Center offers a number of services to assist you in your personal development.
- Career One Stop
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, this online tool to explore different careers by U.S. states.
- Going Global
Country-specific career information, advice, and insider tips for finding employment opportunities at home and abroad. Registration required.
Another U.S. Department of Labor website, O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more.
- Study Abroad
- Cooperative Education/Internships
- Informational Interviews
- Professional Technical Program Information Sessions