Tips & Tricks for Talking Majors and Careers with Family

Sarah Bessey
Woman sitting on mountain

Going home for break can be relaxing while you spend time with friends and family as well as having some time away from school work. Often times, students encounter questions from parents and relatives asking about school, major, and career choice. Below are some tips to talk to family about your major and career!


Be confident! Remember, no one knows you like yourself.

Have an open mind. Your parents and family want what's best for you, so if you feel bombard with questions, keep their intentions in mind.

Listen. You may have finished discussing your plans and interests, but it's important to hear what your loved ones have to say. They may even offer helpful advice or give you new perspectives.

Questions you might encounter:

"What are you going to major in?"

  • If you've already decided on your major, you can discuss what classes you plan on taking for the upcoming semester, why you're interested in it, or how it may help you in your future career.
  • Undecided? Talk about how you're still exploring different classes - list ones you're currently taking or really enjoy. Share something interesting you learned from a class. Tell them about any extracurricular or volunteering opportunities you're participating in that may help lead you to a decision on majors.

"What are you going to do with that major?"

Spoiler alert! Majors do not always equal careers. Law schools, graduate programs, and employers look for well-rounded individuals who use more than just the classroom to explore their intellectual curiosity! Share how your courses connect with your daily life or the ways that you're discovering new experiences and activities that intersect with your varying interests and how that is moving you forward on your career path.

"What's your plan?"

This may feel like a loaded yet vague question, but answer in parts and have a clear direction in leading the conversation.

  • If you want to go straight into graduate/law school, then talk about what classes you plan on taking, when you might take the LSAT or GRE, timing of the application process, and any research you have done (or will do) on potential schools.
  • Leaning towards taking a bridge year (or more)? Discuss national and UVA applicant trends, share what you hope to do during that time off - whether it's taking classes, working, traveling, or volunteering, they'll love to hear about it!
  • Talk about your extracurricular involvements - shadowing, volunteering, student organizations, club sports, or current/prospective job opportunities.
  • You may even want to explore different career paths in the legal field or not, and that's totally fine! Let them know you're still exploring and share your plans for shadowing different professionals or research on different careers.
  • Meeting with a Pre-Law Advisor helps too (for you and for these conversations)! Plan to schedule an appointment or stop by drop-in hours after break to go over any questions or concern that arose.


This post was updated from an original post written by Abigail Hoang.