Choosing Your Courses

It makes sense to think about the courses you take during college both in terms of the intellectual pleasure they offer and in terms of career planning. By choosing the right mix of courses for your major and electives, you can position yourself for a specific field of employment or graduate program, or prepare yourself to look for jobs in many areas.

Some of those choices are obvious. For instance, if you want to go into elementary or high school teaching, it makes sense to enroll in the Education program. If you want to be a newspaper journalist, it makes sense to take as many writing courses as you can, work for The Blue & Gray Press, and see if you can arrange an internship with a paper during college. Other choices aren’t as clear while you’re still in school. For instance, when former English majors are asked what skills they learned at UMW that have helped them in the workplace, number one is always “writing well.” When asked what they wish they’d learned, one skill that’s often mentioned is the ability to read a spreadsheet and do budget planning.

The best advice: talk with your academic advisor about your objectives. Then as you start to define possible career objectives, ask people working in those fields for advice on what courses they have found most helpful or wish they’d taken.