Let mom and dad know: It’s OK to be undecided

Beck Diefenbach

Beck Diefenbach

By Erin Kelley

College is the time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Students may feel that they lose ground by coming to the University undecided.

However, declaring general curriculum as a major initially is a very positive experience for a number of reasons, said Julian Parrott, director and dean of the general curriculum college.

“We find that over 60 percent of students change their major and about 25 percent change multiple times on campus,” Parrott said. “A vast majority are coming in not totally decided.”

Those students who chose to come in undecided initially are in a better position because they are entering an academic environment with support for exploration. The advisers for the general curriculum office focus on making sure students gain a “holistic experience” through supportive nurturing and intensive advising.

Although students may feel pressured because they are not making the same progress as their peers, Parrott said undecided students should take classes that inspire and motivate them.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“Students can pick up their (general education requirement classes) while exploring,” he said. “But it doesn’t work the other way around.”

Advisers at the general curriculum office also might have insight for students on what classes will meet both the general education requirements as well as obtain the exploration value.

Besides exploring career possibilities through classes, students should look into the resources offered at the Career Center, 715 S. Wright St. There is a variety of options available including “Finding a Major” workshops, one-on-one counseling and online exploration, said Brandon Brute, assistant director at the Career Center.

Brute said students should look for majors and career choices that match both their interests and skills, and that the first two years are the essential time to explore several career options and decide on a major.

“It’s never too early to explore,” Brute said.

Students should use the Career Center not just to find jobs but to figure out their career paths. The center encourages students to visit as freshmen because they are a vital resource.

Finding real world experience in the areas that interest students is another essential, Parrott said.

“We encourage students to link classroom experience with real world experience,” he said.

For more information about the career center visit www.