Rob Cook, a sophomore open option student, said he’s a little
stressed out about college and his area study.
Cook spent the last semester searching for the right major but
has yet to find the best match.
“I don’t want to limit myself yet,” Cook said.
Though Cook is currently considering recreation and tourism, he
does not want to make the wrong decision.
Because the Center for Advising and Student Achievement
recommends that students choose a major by the end of their
sophomore year, time is not on Cook’s side.
“My adviser is saying that I need to pick a major. I’m running
out of electives,” Cook said.
According to the Quintessential Career Web site, Cook is in the
majority of college students.
“I think (choosing a major) is a big concern for freshmen and
sophomores,” said Melanie Smith Nichols, an academic adviser for
“We encourage people to declare a major by 60 credits,” Nichols
Finding a major during the first couple years of college is
ideal so it does not delay graduation and because students can use
the All University Core Curriculum credits to explore their
options, Nichols said.
Nichols suggests using the AUCC for taking exploratory courses
in major areas in which students are interested.
“It’s nice because it gives students an idea, but the credits
still count,” Nichols said.
CASA offers many resources to help students decide what they
want to do, including counseling and workshops on how to choose a
major, Nichols said.
One of the processes she tries with students who do not know
what they want to do is give them a list of all of the majors
offered and tell them to cross out the ones they absolutely know
they do not want to do, she said. This helps students narrow down
“People are very capable of making this decision, but they don’t
have enough information,” said Brian O’Bruba, associate director of
the Career Center.
O’Bruba said the Career Center is a helpful resource for
students who do not know what they want to study.
“It’s designed specifically to get students more decided,”
Learning about interests and skills are the key to finding out
what one wants to do, he said.
O’Bruba said the Career Center provides resources such as
self-assessment tests and career counseling to help students
through the process of finding an area of study.
He said the center is helpful for anybody who is concerned about
his/her area of study no matter where he/she is in the process.
For students who have no idea what they want to do, there are
general counselors and there are more specified counselors for
students who have narrowed down their search, O’Bruba said.
“Our goal is to provide assessment wherever they may be in the
process,” O’Bruba said.
O’Bruba said that even though finding a major can be stressful,
it is not different from any other decision.
“Finding a major is not unlike buying a car. It takes the same
process. You wouldn’t just walk onto the lot and say ‘I want a
green car,” O’Bruba said.