Ted Donnelly '89

Within reason, follow your passion & your talents. Ignore the "Top 10 College Majors with Highest Salaries" type lists that you see on LinkedIn. If you like your major & are good at it, you will excel at UVA and beyond. At UVA I frequently heard, "so what are you going to do with that Foreign Affairs major anyway?" At that point I was not sure, but I knew I loved it and thought I was pretty good at it. Twenty-seven years later, life is good, I make a decent living, and I'm still loving it. Ted Donnelly Foreign Affairs (Soviet Union & Eastern Europe Concentration) '89, Chief of U.S. European Command

 Some students think that choosing a major means choosing a job. Although a handful of jobs require specific majors, most careers can be reached through countless different majors. 

Most college majors don't offer specific preparation for a single type of work. In a survey of UVA Arts and Sciences graduates, only 27% reported a direct connection between their undergraduate major and their current career.

Your choice of a major is only one factor in determining your future job prospects and career path. Your grades, electives, and skills often tell employers more about you than your major does.

What can you do to choose a major that you love? Here are a few action steps you can take:

  • Identify Your Interests: You'll excel the most in a major that interests you.
  • Explore Your Values: Reflect on topics that are important to you.
  • Acknowledge Your Abilities: Build on your strengths with just enough challenge to keep growing.
  • Know the Requirements: Review the requirements for the major to see if it fits with your timeline.
  • Clarify the Career Connection: Research career interests and their related majors.
  • Talk to People in the Know: Talk to faculty, recent graduates, and professionals.

It's important to know your options. Examine the degrees offered at the University of Virginia to start evaluating the possibilities.

Get Involved Beyond Your Major 

 Don't forget to pursue opportunities outside of your schoolwork. Your major is one of many lenses you might use to look at possible careers.  Explore UVA Career Center resources on internships, externships, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities. Actively participating in these experiences can help clarify current goals and future interests, while building skills that employers want.