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choosing a major

Career Student Life

Starting College Undeclared and Thriving

March 15, 2022

You have high hopes and big dreams when you head off to college, but things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes when you start college, you may start to change and find that what you thought you wanted is no longer the case. Maybe you don’t even know what you want to do in the first place. Either way, it is alright if you don’t have a major picked out right away, or start college undeclared.

With many majors and specializations offered, choosing which major to pursue your bachelor’s degree can be challenging. It is okay to feel uncertain at first, and many students are open to the chance to explore different fields to discover what interests them most. There are often many negative feelings surrounding being undeclared at the beginning of your college career; however, it can actually be a good thing to not have a major picked right away.

Benefits of Being Undeclared

Enrolling with an undeclared major allows you to explore your options and give you the chance to take a variety of courses on different topics to see what you would like to pursue further. You will need to check your universities requirements or with your academic advisor to see how long you can be undeclared. Most universities will allow you to remain undeclared for up to one year or two semesters.

Starting your college career undeclared can also save you some hassle later on down the road. According to Frank.org, at least 80% of college students change their major during their college career. If you start out undecided and take the time to look through the different options by taking courses and speaking with an academic advisor, you can make a well-informed choice. The later in school you change your major, the more significant the implications could be.

Although taking this route may be helpful to you, it’s important to note that not picking a major may push your expected graduation date back. That could affect any scholarships or other financial aid you might have, so it would be good to talk it over with someone before making any significant changes.

Picking a Major

For an incoming freshman, our best piece of advice is not to stress about picking a major right away. Now that you have taken some time to look over the different options offered at your university, you can begin narrowing your options.

Make a list

We make lists for all sorts of reasons; why would picking a major be any different? Writing things down can help you visually and logically think through them.

When deciding your major, there are many factors that you should think about:

  • What courses are involved?
  • What are the graduation requirements?
  • What job could I get after I graduate?

Now that you have your list of options you’ve explored, which ones would you like to seriously consider?

What Did You Like?

On this list of possible majors, which ones do you like? Do any of them have the chance to help you get a job that you would enjoy? Let yourself be a little more creative to explore all the things you’re passionate about to see if you can visualize yourself in a particular role or field using the major. While some of the classes you take might not lead up to being aligned with your major, they can help you navigate your way to something involving different things you are passionate about.

What Were You Good At?

To narrow down the list, even more, think about all the classes from your major list that you were good at. And if you’re up for it, include the ones you think you weren’t so fond of.

How will this be helpful? When you compare the two, it can help you make an informed, logical choice. It may seem weird, but just because you are good at something doesn’t mean that you would end up enjoying that major or a job in that related field.

For example, if you are good at math and performed well in your first accounting class but did not enjoy the coursework involved, you might not want to consider accounting as a major moving forward.

Talk to a Professional

Although we have mentioned it before, a great way to get a sense of what major you might want to pursue further is speaking with an advisor. They will better understand what the coursework will look like moving forward and can help with any questions or hesitations you have.

You can also try speaking with someone who got a degree in a field you’re considering. It could be a parent, family member, friend, or acquaintance, but getting advice from someone with experience in the field can give you valuable insight into if you would enjoy this major or career path.

You could ask about what it’s like getting into the industry, the work-to-life balance, pay range, and possible career growth. Knowing this information can give you a sense of whether or not careers within this degree path are suitable for you.

Picking a major and a career path can be scary, but know that you are not alone! There are many different options out there to help you make this decision. Although it may feel overwhelming, it is okay to start school not exactly sure where you are headed or change your direction halfway through.

Career Student Life

Diversity Encouragement Strengthening STEM Disciplines

March 1, 2022

A STEM career may prove to be a great choice for you. For instance, you can earn a degree in astronomy, biology, or another STEM field. From here, you can gain the skills you need to become a key contributor in a STEM role. In addition, you can help foster diversity among STEM disciplines. 

You can simultaneously build a rewarding STEM career and promote diversity in STEM disciplines. And doing so may have far-flung effects on yourself and many others long into the future. 

Why STEM Studies Are Crucial 

Sparking interest in STEM studies drives diversity among STEM disciplines. To understand why, consider what can happen if you pursue a STEM degree. 

In this instance, you’ll use hands-on and classroom training and exercises to build your skill set in science, technology, engineering, and math. Next, you can use your STEM skills to solve problems and take your creativity to new heights. 

At this point, your STEM skills can make you an attractive candidate for top jobs from STEM companies. They can even help you earn a great salary. 

Let’s not forget about the unique contributions you’ll be able to bring to a STEM company, either. Your contributions may lead others to pursue STEM careers. As a result, you’ll foster diversity in STEM disciplines. 

How Educators Encourage Diversity in STEM Disciplines 

If you’re on the fence about a college major, meeting with educators can provide a great starting point. Teachers have your best interests at heart and can address any doubts you have about choosing a college major.  

Many teachers possess cultural awareness that is vital to the enjoyment and pursuit of learning. These teachers can help you explore career interests you previously might not have considered. And they may help you find a STEM degree program that suits you perfectly. 

Ultimately, earning a degree in a STEM discipline can provide a viable career path. There are many degrees you can pursue in STEM studies. Thus, you can find one that interests you and make a career out of it. You can help make STEM disciplines more diverse than ever before, too. 

How to Build a STEM Career and Promote Diversity

Once you’re ready to earn a degree in a STEM field, you’ll need to find the right degree program. You can look for STEM studies at colleges and universities close to home. Or, you can enroll in an online degree program.

Search for degree programs that align with what you want to accomplish in your career. Oftentimes, it helps to list out your career goals. You can then use your goals to figure out what degree programs can help you build your ideal STEM career. 

Take advantage of any opportunities to gain experience, too. Sign up for workshops on various STEM topics. You can also explore internship and apprenticeship opportunities. 

Remain on the lookout for opportunities to grow your STEM career as well. If you are open to learning about new STEM topics, you can continuously enhance your skillset. Over time, you may establish a cultural awareness that helps you get the most out of learning about STEM topics as well.  

Launch Your STEM Career

Pursue STEM studies in areas that interest you. In doing so, you can build a rewarding STEM career and foster diversity in STEM disciplines.