UI offers different majors for indecisive students

Throughout life, children are asked the question, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ The answer to this question usually changes daily, maybe even hourly. However, at the age of 18, individuals are forced to make a decision. On their college applications, students have the option to choose a major, though the percentage of students that actually stick with these majors is quite slim.

“A lot of students come into college undecided and the students who come in with a major nearly always end up switching,” Michael Myers, academic advisor for the Division of General Studies.

“It is actually a not so common occurrence to graduate with the major you entered the University with.”

Students are required to declare a major by the beginning of their junior year. The earliest a student can declare or change a major is the beginning of their sophomore year.

The reason is because a student needs to learn the layout of the University, and have time to “figure out their specific interests,” Myers said.

A student can change their major at any time, Myers said, but they cannot stay in the University for more than ten semesters, unless a special petition is filled out.

Myers said these requests are usually approved for reasons such as illness or death in the family.

“One thing that is verydimportant is getting a college degree,” Myers said. “There are very very few careers directly linked to majors; just basically engineering, nursing, accounting, and actuarial science. You should just find a major that you like because businesses will train you for what they want you to do. You are not going to get this training in college; what employers are basically looking for is ‘is this person smart and are they trainable?’”

“Businesses tend to look more at grade point averages and if the person would make a good employee more than what the individual’s actual major is,” Myer added.

For Wan Choi, a freshman in the Division of General Studies, he still does not quite know what direction to take.

“I wanted to go to theology and study religion, but there was huge opposition from my family so I applied as general studies,” Choi said.

“Now I decided to be an electrical engineer because I like physics. There is more job stability and a higher salary.”

Choi did not know if that’s what he wanted to do, but decided that he would stick with it and apply to graduate school in a different field if he changed his mind.

Choi took advantage of resources that the University’s Career Center offers for students who are unsure of what their major should be.

The Career Center offers 45-minute counseling appointments where students meet with a career adviser. There, they can try to figure out what their interests might be, and if they have any ideas about long term goals.

Then, the counselors help the student figure out a good course of action, Kathryn Flint Assistant Director, of The Career Center said.

There is also an online tool called the EPICS program, where students can check off values and interests and then find a major for them based on what their values and interests.

“These resources are not necessarily going to tell you what you should do, but it’s a good starting point,” Flint said.

The Career Center also has a workshop called “Finding a Major that Fits”, and has various books and resources that offer students ideas about how to figure out their major.

“Students should not hesitate to switch tracks if they find something that fits their personality,” Flint said.

“The University will work with you and if you are willing to put in the time you can change your major as late as the beginning of senior year.”