Nov 162003
Authors: Carmen Filosa

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

their choices.

“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,”

O’Bruba said.

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.





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