- Where To Go On Campus
- Assess Yourself
- Explore Occupations and Majors
- Get Experience
- Making Decisions
- Goal Setting and Taking Action
- Assistance with Finding Co-ops, Internships, and/or Full-time Positions
- Information About Attending Graduate School
Deciding on a major and choosing an occupational path is an individual and complex interaction between many factors including: your interests, skills, personal values, personality traits, and your motivation to pursue an educational path. Included here are many resources to help you to think more about these many factors and to research majors and occupations that you want to know more about. There are also several offices on campus that have professionals available to assist you in this process.
Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Go to the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education to talk with a career counselor if:
- You are confused about what majors of occupational paths you should consider.
- You think you want to change majors, but are uncertain about options that might be a good fit for you.
- You want to do career related assessment (interest and personality inventories) to help generate career path ideas. To make an appointment with a career counselor, call our office at 585-475-2301.
- You want assistance finding relevant occupational information on websites and in books.
- You would like to discuss your ideas in an individual, confidential setting.
- You aren’t sure where to start in the career exploration process.
Go to the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education to talk with your career services coordinator if:
- You want to find a coop job or a full-time job after you graduate.
- You want help with the job search process: resume writing, interviewing, and ways to find jobs to apply to.
- You want to prepare for a RIT job fair.
- You want to know about the types of jobs that coop students and graduates in your major get.
- You want information about the salaries of RIT graduates in your major.
- You would like to talk with an RIT graduate in a career field that you are interested in.
- You are an RIT alumnus and want assistance with your career needs.
Go to University Exploration if:
- You want to spend up to a year in an undeclared major, sampling courses and taking a Career Exploration 1 credit course. University Exploration has an academic program that will allow you to be in an undecided major for up to a year, while you are contemplating your options.
- You want to be part of a group of students who are also involved in career exploration.
- You want assistance in finding information about RIT majors you are considering and in changing your major. University Studies has academic advisors who are experienced and skilled in advising students who are undeclared and undecided about their academic programs.
Although discussion with a career counselor in the Office of Career Services and Co-op is an excellent way to identify important and relevant factors to consider in a search for a major and occupation, there are also many online resources that can assist you. Here are some:
Since you will likely spend over 90,000 hours of your life working, it makes sense to pick a major and occupation that is something that you enjoy and will continue to want to learn about over the years. These inventories will help you identify career-related interests and will provide suggestions of occupations and majors that are related to your interests.
- O*NET Interest Profiler After you answer 60 questions about activities that would interest you, a list of occupations that might appeal to you will be generated. This site also links to information about these occupations. A career counselor at the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education can help you link this information to RIT majors.
- New York State Career Zone Click on “Assess Yourself” on the top tabs to take a very quick interest inventory. This will link to occupations and majors that might appeal to your interests.
- Strong Interest Inventory Career Counselors at the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education can give you access to take the Strong Interest Inventory, a commonly used assessment instrument to identify your interests and occupations associated with them.
The skills you have and enjoy using may suggest occupations that will appeal to you.
- The Skills Profiler takes you through a series of questions that allow you to identify skills and activities you have. This leads to a customized Skills Profile that includes:
- A summary of identified skills and work activities.
- A list of occupations matched either to skills or work activities.
- A link to Occupation Profiles for more detailed occupation information, as well as links from there to the Employer Locator for names of employers in their area.
- O*NET Skills Search Skills Search is designed to help you use your skill set to identify occupations for exploration. You select a set of skills from six broad groups of skills to create your customized skill list.
- Pymetrics Using 12 short games, we assess 50 cognitive, emotional, and social traits. The games provide a snapshot of your unique characteristics. We apply data science to your game performance to create a personalized profile. Your profile will be matched to careers and companies where you would most thrive.
- My Skills, My Future If you have had a job and are looking to identify other occupations that will use your skill set, this very quick inventory may give you some good ideas.
Understanding aspects of your personality can help you identify work environments that are well-suited for you. No single personality trait is advantageous over another, but being aware of one’s personal preferences is an important step in making a satisfactory career choice.
We recommend the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to explore aspects of your personality. You may take the Myers-Briggs after meeting with a career counselor at the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. The counselor will then review your preferences with you, and help you connect your personality traits and associated occupations.
- Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test Humanmetrics offers free brief online MBTI assessment.
- The Personality Page Take a personality inventory here ($5.00) and explore many aspects related to personality: career choice, relationships, personal growth, etc.
- 16 Personalities Take a personality inventory here and learn more about the 16 personality types, including career paths and workplace habits.
Work can bring much satisfaction when it fulfills our values. The following inventories will help you prioritize your essential work values.
Once you have identified your work values, you can talk with a career counselor and explore occupational information to find careers which align with your values.
- Our Salary and Program page includes links to Career Overviews which have data about job responsibilities, skills, job titles and employers, salary information from RIT co-op students and graduates.
There are many resources of occupational information online. Here are some that we find trustworthy and relevant.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics covers hundreds of occupations, describing work environments, job duties, salaries, and more.
- O*NET Search for occupational information or browse by similar careers at this comprehensive website. You can also search for occupations that use your skill set.
- Sloan Career Cornerstone Center is a great resource for those exploring opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computing, and healthcare fields.
- Additional Websites with occupational information that are recommended by the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education:
International and Global Studies
- RIT Wallace Library Career Guide page highlights resources, career e-books, career videos, career trends articles, and other articles related to career exploration. (Also, there are many books and electronic books with occupational information available at the Wallace Library).
Talking with people about their occupations or majors and asking for advice is called informational interviewing. Here are ideas about setting up interviews, possible questions to ask, and the value of using this technique to gain information.
Use our Professional Network to connect with volunteers open to talking with and giving advice to RIT students and alumni.
The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education hosts employer presentations throughout the year. Visit Job Zone and click on Events and then information sessions to see what employers are making presentations.
- Career Services Coordinators RIT has a career services coordinator in the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education who works with every RIT major. Their role is to maintain relationships with employers and to help students prepare for the job search by reviewing resumes, interview preparation, and launching a job search. A discussion with the program coordinator who works with your major (or one you are considering) will yield valuable information.
- Professional Network consists of RIT alumni, employers and friends of the University who volunteer to provide you with career development support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples. You can access the list of volunteers through RIT Job Zone (Professional Network link is on the top toolbar).
- Program Academic Advisor Every RIT program has academic advisors in the college or department, and all RIT students should have an advisor. The advisor should be the first person you contact about required courses for a major, RIT resources to help you pursue academic excellence, and keeping on track toward graduation. If you are considering a change of major, an academic advisor can give you valuable information about a new major. Contact information for advisors is typically given on the department website.
- Professors have in depth knowledge of the fields they teach about and often have employer contacts. Do not neglect to ask them questions that could yield valuable information.
- Upperclass Students who have been out on co-op will have expertise to share about their experiences. Ask your academic advisor or program coordinator for names of upper class students you could talk to.
- Alumni Some RIT alumni have indicated their willingness to help current students with their career questions. Information about the Alumni Network will help you connect to them.
- On Campus/Off Campus Jobs The Student Employment Office posts a variety of opportunities -- some of them can be good resume builders.
- Cooperative Education The staff at Career Services and Cooperative Education is available to you every step of the way to support your career development.
- Volunteering and Community Service Some students choose to broaden their experience through volunteering and community service. RIT opportunities can be found on the RIT Leadership Institute Volunteer Info and Opportunites page.
- Leadership The RIT Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities and volunteering and community service to increase students’ personal success skills.
Once you have developed an understanding of yourself and know your options, you are ready to make a decision about major and/or career.
Making a decision can feel overwhelming. It may help to consider how you have made successful decisions in the past. If your past decisions have not been successful, you might like to use another decision-making method. Other methods include weighing the pros and cons, choosing intuitively whatever feels best, talking through the decision out loud with another person, and obtaining input from others. Use whatever method works best for you.
If you find making a decision is difficult, contact a career counselor at the RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education or an advisor at University Exploration.
The next step of the career planning process is to proactively put all the pieces of information you have gathered to create a set of career-related goals.
Setting short-term and long-term goals can help you gain success. The following resources will help you identify your goals, make plans to reach them, put your plans in motion, and decide if you plans are working.
Find balance between job requirements and your educational background and skills
Successful career planning involves both long-term and short-term goals for your career. This website gives you ideas of how to develop these goals.
You may also wish to set financial goals by completing a budget for after graduation -- Budget Worksheet for Graduates
Even though you may have a carefully thought through your options, your career plans may change. Obstacles to taking action can appear as well, and unexpected opportunities may arise. When this occurs, you may wish to return to some of the previous steps such as “Assess Yourself” and “Explore Options.” Career counselors are also happy to assist you through any adjustments you need to make.
Once you have sorted through your individual interests and strengths, and reviewed your options, you may be ready to make a change to your academic program at RIT. The “Change of Program/Plan” form needs to be filled out and given to your academic advisor in your current home department. Your department will send the form and your academic records to the department that you apply to. You will be notified of your acceptance or rejection from the new department.
Here is a blog entry from a student who changed his major several times
How to declare a double major or a dual degree
Look for the form titled "Double Major Authorization" or "Dual Degree Authorization"
How to declare a minor
Look for the form titled "Minor Authorization/Change"
How to declare an immersion
Look for the form titled "Immersion Authorization/Change"
The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education and the NTID Center on Employment exist to assist you in finding satisfying cooperative education and full-time employment. Take time to become familiar with the website and make sure that you connect with your Career Services Coordinator.
Selecting a graduate school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. In addition to the information we have gathered for you here, the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education offers graduate school info sessions throughout the year and has an advisor who can help provide information about the graduate school process.