Thursday, September 2, 2010

Undecided?

Whether you are yet to choose a major, or are currently inbetween, you may be interested to know you are not alone.

In fact research suggests that around 20% of college students experience undecidedness in their undergraduate years (Habley, 2006) and nearly 75% change their majors at some point in time (Gordon, 2007).  So there it is, in a classroom of 20 people, 4 will likely be without a major, and 15 have or will change their major.

So now that you know you aren't going to be alone in your decisions, what are you going to do about it?

That's right, the ball is in your court, and you get to pick your team.  Many resources are available on both this site, and located in the CAVE.  There is something for every individual, here are some examples:

I have never had a major, what should I declare?
If this is you, you may want to start by taking an assessment.  Knowing more about yourself is important in figuring out what you want to do.  It will take into account your strengths, abilities, and values and suggest occupations that employ people with similar qualities.  From there you can check what education is required to work in that area.  STARS can help to set you up on either PinPoint or Kansas Career Pipeline to take these types of computerized assessments.  There are also activities on this very site that can help to match you to specific majors.  Check them out!

I'm not satisfied with my major, what can I do to change?
Visit with your advisor, they may be able to help you determine why it is you want to change, and what alternatives may be available.  Asking yourself questions like "What about this major do I dislike/like," "Have I had any experience in this major outside of the classroom," and "Have I visited with someone in the profession" will help you figure out if the major is for you or not.  Just because an Intro to Business class isn't your favorite, doesn't necessarily mean its not for you, and vice versa.  Gaining experience can make a big difference. 

You may also consider taking or retaking the assessments discussed above.  You may find a pattern in your strengths, values, and abilities, or find that they've changed significantly.

I'm about to graduate, but changing my major would mean taking a considerable amount of additional credit hours to meet requirements, should I still change?
Keep in mind that although certain careers may require specific majors, certain majors can also prepare you for a large number of occupations.  The completion of a college degree itself presents employers with a set of skills and experiences that have prepared you for the workplace.  You may want to do a cost/benefit analysis of your major change.

Whatever your question may be, visit with your advisor, and take advantage of the resources available to you!

References used:

Habley, W. (2006, October).  Look who's coming to college. Paper presented at the NACADA 31st Annual Conference on Academic Advising, Baltimore, MD.

Gordon, V.N. (2007).  The undecided college student: An academic and career advising challenge (3rd ed). Springfield, IL: Thomas.

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