If you wish to learn more about a potential major, a professor who teaches in the department can serve as an excellent resource. First contact the department’s administrative assistant (or other designated point of contact) to arrange an appointment to meet with a professor. To access the department’s website from the University’s homepage at www.sju.edu, select Academics from the left-hand navigation bar and then select the appropriate school (i.e., College of Arts & Sciences, Haub School of Business) housing the program of interest to you. From there, select Programs and then the major of interest. The department’s homepage and/or “Meet the Faculty” pages will list appropriate contact information. Prior to meeting with the professor, it is strongly recommended that you familiarize yourself with as much information as possible about the major, including the curriculum (i.e., required courses, elective courses, concentrations if applicable) and the faculty. Again, the department’s website serves as an excellent resource in this regard. As you review information on the department’s website, ask yourself what specifically interests you about the major, why you would expect to do well in this course of study and which courses (and how many) genuinely appeal to you.
Doing this preliminary research and evaluation in advance of the meeting will allow you more time to ask questions whose answers are not readily available online and to spend your time – as well as the professor’s – more efficiently.
Appropriate Questions to Help You Learn About Majors:
- What are the skills I will need to possess or develop to be successful in the study of this major?
- Is it possible to double major or complete a minor?
- Does this major allow for internships, co-op or study abroad? If so, what are the requirements?
- What are examples of careers pursued by SJU graduates with this major?
- Can you recommend current students majoring in the department whom I might contact for further information?
When completing an informational interview, it is important to make a positive impression. Here are some tips to help you do so:
- Dress in a professional manner.
- Keep the interview brief and to the point. Do not chitchat.
- Before you begin the interview, inform your host of the questions you will ask so they can gauge their responses accordingly, as well as allow enough time for your meeting.
- Do not ask general questions about information you can easily find in a library or on the internet, as this is not the best use of the person’s time.
- Always maintain eye contact, smile, and nod occasionally to indicate your interest in what they are saying.
- Take notes if you wish, but do not write everything; rather note key phrases to remind you of the answer or information.
- Feel free to answer questions about yourself if you are asked, or to intersperse some information about yourself.
- Do not forget to ask for names of other contacts. This should always be the last question you ask; in this manner you will be able to expand your network.
- Thank the person for his/her time.
- Write a thank you note describing what was of value to you.
There are many other ways to learn about careers in addition to the abovementioned strategies. The Career Development Center offers Career Fairs, Networking Nights and Career Panels, and other related events that can also provide excellent opportunities for you to meet professionals in your career fields of interest. Please refer to Career Events for the most up-to-date programming schedule.