Open-Option Exploration

Aug 182004
Authors: Erin Skarda

As campus is being invaded by both new and returning students, many are still faced with the decision of choosing a major.

While this process can be long and stressful for some students, Anne Thompson, a counselor at the Career Center, said it is normal to be unsure.

“I would say being open-option is positive,” Thompson said, “Then at least you’re not making a pre-mature decision.”

With more than 150 programs offered within eight colleges and 55 departments, there are a large number of majors students can choose from. However, according to Thompson, open-option is still the largest.

“Many students with declared majors are still internally open-option,” she said. “Being open-option gives students time to explore what’s out there and assess themselves.”

Madlyn D’Andrea, an adviser for the Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA), said that being open-option is an honest choice.

“It’s hard to figure out what to do. The pressure makes people nervous, but the process should be fun,” she said.

Many resources on campus are available to students who feel lost in their decision. The Career Center offers counseling to assist in the process, as well as various assessments that measure interests, confidence in various skills, values and personality, which may lead them to a career they would like to explore.

The Resource Center within the Career Center also provides information on different careers, many which relate to specific majors. Here students can find books about different majors, information about internships, graduate schools, and employer directories.

CASA also offers many major and career resources. Advising appointments are available for students in both open-option and declared majors. The front office is being re-organized into an exploration zone with online resources as well as information about different majors and departments.

Zack Ruelas, a junior sociology major, said that while the advisers at CASA didn’t give him much guidance, the Career Center did.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Ruelas said, “The Career Center was extremely helpful, especially if you are deciding on graduate school or are a sophomore or junior, go there.”

Cassidy Isch was open-option during his first year until deciding to declare math as his major his sophomore year.

“My advisor through CASA helped a lot,” Isch said. “I had a little idea of what I wanted to do, but he showed me options for my interests, gave me ideas and spent a lot of time helping out.”

Both Thompson and D’Andrea agree the sooner a student gets involved and starts researching a major that appeals to them, the easier it will be to find something they enjoy.

“I encourage students not to wait until their registration appointment,” D’Andrea said. “They really should meet with their advisor in September or October to start the process.”

Thompson encourages students to get involved with student organizations, volunteer, talk to people within their majors of interest, and take advantage of online resources to help in their decision.

“Be pro-active,” D’Andrea said. “Get on the websites, begin exploring, talk with advisors, and have fun with it. Really learn about yourself.”

The Career Center

>Ammons Hall

Call 491-5707 to make an appointment

Visit the website at<

Center for Advising and Student Achievement

100 A. Aylesworth NE

Call 491-7095 to make an appointment

Visit the website at

Attend the Career Fair on September 15 and 16.

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