What Do I Major In?

Undecided about a major or career? Join the club! It is common for students to be unsure of what they would like to do. It is also fairly common for students to change their majors while in college and for adults to change careers several times in their lives.

Exploring Majors
These websites connect majors with careers, but please know that in many, many cases, a person's major does not necessarily determine a career. There are many paths to a career.

Collegeboard.org’s Big Future: Wondering what the difference is between majoring in Engineering Mechanics vs. Mechanical Engineering? This website gives profiles of hundreds of majors and careers in a teen-friendly way. This site can help you understand what a particular major is, what your college courses might look like, and which colleges offer that particular major.

What Can I Do With This Major?: The University of Tennessee at Knoxville put together a list of more than 80 majors that you can find at many universities. For each major, you can see a truly wide range of possible career paths related to that major. In addition, this site gives you some very helpful tips that are specific to your major in making you a successful candidate for a job.

Exploring Careers
Naviance Family Connection
: Want to take a survey or questionnaire to help you figure out your strengths, interests, and preferences for a possible career? Try the "StrengthsExplorer" or the "Career Interest Profiler" under the "About Me" tab in Naviance. The "Career Interest Profiler" can be reset and taken again multiple times, but the "StrengthsExplorer" cannot be reset. You can also explore the "Road Trip Nation" short videos to hear interesting and inspiring stories about how people from all walks of life came to the career they have today.

California Career Zone: A fun and informative website where you can take additional career interest surveys, explore career clusters, and even take a “Reality Check” survey that tells you how much you would need to earn in order to support the lifestyle you want. This website is sponsored by the California Career Resource Network.

UC Berkeley Career Center: Try some of these activities to help you evaluate what your career preferences might be.

O*NET Online: Ever wonder, what exactly does a __(insert random job title)___ do? Search this website to find out. O*NET will also give you a list of job titles that are similar to your original search entry. It will also give you a summary of what training, education, and skills are necessary to obtain that job. This summary can be very useful when exploring jobs—it helps you think about the kinds of relevant skills you might already have (GREAT for helping you craft a resume), and skills that you still need to acquire, either through formal training (apprenticeships, internships, etc.) or through education (community college classes, etc.). This website is sponsored the U.S. Department of Labor.

CareerOneStop: This website is also sponsored the U.S. Department of Labor. By searching for the Occupation Profile of any particular job, you can get information on wages, employment trends, knowledge, skills, and abilities, education and training, and web resources for that job or career. National, state, and local information is available, as well as trend and wage comparisons across occupations and geographical areas.

Medical Explorers Post #63: This organization is open to all high school students from San Mateo to San Jose who are interested in a career in Medicine. Meetings are twice month, the second and fourth Monday evening at the Palo Alto Clinic from 7-8:30pm. The meetings feature talks by doctors and other health professionals, information about new technology, discussions of controversial medical issues. There are also occasional afternoon field trip to labs, hospitals, and other medical facilities.

ACE Mentoring: This program is open students Gr. 9-12 who are interested in Architecture, Construction and Engineering. Students are paired with mentors who are current professionals in their field. Activities, field trips, projects, and more give students a hands-on education about careers in architecture, construction, engineering and building trades. In addition, participants have the opportunity to get scholarships for college.

Test Info

Virtually all colleges will accept both the SAT and ACT, and do not prefer one over the other. Many students do about equally well on both tests, but students can try both, see which they are better at or feel more comfortable with, and focus their preparation on just one test. Students can download free practice SAT and ACT exams from www.sat.org and www.actstudent.org, or pick up hard copies at the College/Career Center, and students can score them on their own.
The College/Career Center does not officially endorse any specific test prep company or tutor. There are many free and low-cost options for preparing (see below). Test preparation pathways can vary depending on a student’s (1) learning style, (2) schedule, and (3) budget. For example, some students prefer the feel and comfort of a small group or classroom setting; others prefer more individual attention; still others prefer online classes. Shop around, and like any savvy consumer knows, the most expensive options do not always mean they are the best ones for an individual.

Preparing for the SAT or ACT

Free Test Prep Options:

  • There are a number of free test prep websites such as www.number2.com, www.INeedAPencil.com, and www.satexamprep.com. The Khan Academy provides free, personalized preparation online for the SAT. The ACT also provides a low-cost online test prep option, which can be free if you use a fee waiver when taking the ACT.
  • SAT, ACT, SAT Subject, and AP test prep books are available for students to borrow for free from the College/Career Center.
  • The College/Career Center also has sample test booklets for free.

On-campus Option (suggested donation):

  • An on-campus SAT prep class is made possible through the generosity of our teachers and the M-A Foundation for the Future.


Fee Waivers

Qualifying for free or reduced lunch is one of the ways you could get a fee waiver to take the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject tests for free. See Ms. Nguyen at the College/Career Center.


SAT and SAT Subject Tests

The school code number for Menlo-Atherton High School is 050170.
To register for the SAT or SAT Subject Tests, visit www.sat.org.

SAT Test Date

Registration Deadline

Late Registration Deadline

August 26, 2017

July 28, 2017

August 8, 2017

October 7, 2017

September 8, 2017

September 19, 2017

November 4, 2017

October 5, 2017

October 25, 2017

December 2, 2017

November 2, 2017

November 21, 2017

March 10, 2018*

February 9, 2018

February 20, 2018

May 5, 2018

April 6, 2018

April 17, 2018

June 2, 2018

May 3, 2018

May 15, 2018


*SAT Subject Tests are NOT available on this date.

Frequently Asked Questions about the SAT Subject Tests


The school code number for Menlo-Atherton High School is 050170.
To register for the ACT or ACT + Writing, visit www.actstudent.org.

ACT Test Date

Registration Deadline

Late Registration Deadline

September 9, 2017

August 4, 2017

August 18, 2017

October 28, 2017

September 22, 2017

October 6, 2017

December 9, 2017

November 3, 2017

November 17, 2017

February 10, 2018

January 12, 2018

January 19, 2018

April 14, 2018

March 9, 2018

March 23, 2017

June 9, 2018

May 4, 2018

May 18, 2018

July 14, 2018 June 15, 2018 June 22, 2018
What colleges require or recommend the writing section of the ACT, if I choose to take the ACT? (the vast majority of colleges will take either the SAT or ACT)


How 12th Graders Can Prepare for College
Here are general task lists for the Class of 2017:
Applying for financial aid (coming soon!)


How 11th Graders Can Prepare for College
  • Continue to take challenging courses and do well in them
  • Take PSAT again in October
  • Register and take the SAT or ACT. Most juniors take their first official SAT or ACT in the second semester. Have a plan for how you will prepare for these tests. See the SAT/ACT and Test Info tabs for test dates, ways to prepare for free, etc.
  • Find opportunities to try out career and college ideas: get a job; volunteer or intern in your field; find research opportunities
  • Visit colleges during extended school breaks or while on vacation. Sign up for official campus tours through college websites. Visiting colleges can help you figure out your likes and dislikes regarding the size of a school, its location, campus-feel, residential life, etc. Consider sitting in on classes, talking to current students or recent alumni, etc.
  • Use Naviance or other college matching sites to explore colleges (see “College Search” page). Naviance also has scattergrams to assess college fit.
  • Apply for "For Non-Seniors Too" scholarships while also watching for scholarships you will apply for as a Senior. See the financial aid page of this site for helpful hints on finding ways to pay for college.
  • Ask teachers to write your letters of recommendation during the second semester, after spring break. Many teachers appreciate getting early notification while your performance in their class is fresh in their memories and may write your letter over the summer. See the “FAQ’s on Teacher Recommendation Letters” on the Naviance homepage.
  • Plan to do something productive with your summer vacation: work on a project of your own creation, do community service, get a part-time job, play a sport, attend classes, travel abroad, etc. Browse the Enrichment Programs on Naviance for summer ideas. Early in the second semester is the time when summer programs are accepting applications, so plan ahead.
  • Over the summer between junior and senior year, visit colleges, refine the list of colleges you will be applying to, use the summer to work on college essays, such as the UC essays and the Common Application essays.


How 10th Graders Can Prepare for College
  • Take challenging courses and do well in them. Make sure you are meeting “a-g” requirements.
  • Take the PSAT in October (College and Career Day)
  • Investigate possible careers; find out what preparation you need
  • Plan to do something productive with your summer vacation: work on a project of your own creation, do community service, get a part-time job, play a sport, attend classes, travel abroad, etc. Browse the Enrichment Programs on Naviance for summer ideas. Early in the Spring semester is the time when summer programs are accepting applications, so plan ahead.
  • Discuss finances with your parents; plan how to afford college


How 9th Graders Can Prepare for College
  • Learn about the UC/CSU "a-g" requirements
  • Get involved in clubs, sports, and community service. There are many opportunities to explore at M-A.
  • Do well in your classes: C's or better.
  • Discuss finances with your parents; plan how to afford college. Check out the information on the financial aid page.
  • Plan to do something productive with your summer vacation. For example: work on a project of your own creation, do community service, get a part-time job, play a sport, attend classes, travel, etc. You may browse the Enrichment Programs by category on Naviance for some summer programs.