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Southeast Missouri State University

(M)oving to a Decision

So you have explored your own personal characteristics, used this information to research possible majors or career directions, and you've narrowed your options down quite a bit. Now what? Below are helpful decision-making strategies to assist you as you look to move to a decision(s) regarding your college major and/or career direction.

1. Clarify decision difficulties

List items which make your decision(s) challenging. Once you clearly define your concerns, the solutions are often easier to visualize.

2. List how you can obtain support

Remember, you have friends, relatives, counselors, and others to assist you. Although the decision(s) must ultimately be yours, you don’t have to go through the decision making process by yourself.

3. Consider whether a deeper issue may be complicating things

Examples could be related to parental pressure, lack of confidence, or motivational concerns which may be impeding your decision(s).

4. Consider all of your alternatives

You want to be sure to examine all of the possible alternatives. Discussions with others is a good method for making sure you’re seeing everything.

5. Clarify your goals

You want to make sure the foundation for your decision(s) is set. By having clearly defined goals to guide you, the best choice between all of your alternatives becomes clearer.

6. Understand all of the consequences of your decision(s)

While you should not concentrate solely on potential negatives, you want to make sure you understand all aspects of your decisions(s), both positive AND negative.

7. Seek assistance if needed

If at any time you have questions or need assistance with your decision process, career counselors are available at the Office of Career Services by appointment to assist you.  *Call (573) 651-2583 to set up an appointment*

Use a Step-by-Step Decision Making Process

  • Clarify the decision. What exactly is being decided?
  • Identify your options. Narrow down your list to your most viable options.
  • Consider the pros and cons of each option.
  • Choose among your options. This is the part of the process where you will be taking responsibility for making your decision.
  • Take some action. How are you going to implement your decision?
  • Review your decision. Continue to gather information and revise your decision if needed.

Adapted from Gary Lynn Harr’s book, Career Guide: Road Maps to Meaning in the World of Work, 1995.

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