Students often have many questions when trying to choose their major. The process can seem confusing or daunting at times. More often than not, a student’s advisor can help answer questions.
Academic advisor Megan Bowen spoke with The George-Anne and discussed some of the important information in choosing a major.
What is, in your opinion, the most important part of choosing a major?
“Being invested in it. There are lots of different majors that can get you to the same career. So what matters is really the work you are willing to put in. Two people can get the same degree and come out of it with vastly different skills, just based on what they put in. The piece of paper matters. But the skills you gain matter even more. You get more out when you are interested and motivated and you are willing to put more in.”
What resources are available on campus for students who are uncertain towards their majors?
“The Major and Career Exploration Center in the Williams Center is a big first stop. Your advisor and the advisor for the major you are interested in can also help. Also, the faculty. If you take a class and you love it and you’re curious about majoring in that subject, ask your professor about it.”
What’s one misconception about declaring a major, advisors, or anything relating to your job, you wish you could clear up with students?
“As an advisor. I work for my students and their best interests. I just want to help them all find the program that’s the best fit for them. If you decide to change your major, and it puts you where you want to be, then that’s great. Don’t be scared to see your advisor with questions if you aren’t sure about your major.”
What can students do if they feel they are unhappy with their current major?
“Talk to your advisor! And all of the things I said in the previous answer. Ask questions of your advisor, your professors and yourself. Figure out why you are unhappy. Is it about career options, or how difficult the classes are, or is it about not being interested in the material? All of these are valid concerns, but they might lead you in different directions for the answer.”
When should a student feel like they need to declare their major?
“Logistically speaking, finishing all of your CORE before you enter a major can make the transition difficult in some majors. So having a major declared by sophomore year is probably a good bet in most cases. However, some majors take four years to complete no matter when you declare because of sequencing and course rotations. So sooner is better in all cases.”
The search for a major is one every student must go through. Students need to make use of the resources available to them to make the search and decision as easy as possible.
Bowen ended with some advice for students still searching.
“Go to events in the departments you are interested in. Meet the faculty. Talk to other students in the major. Check in with the advisor to find out which courses you would be taking,” Bowen said. “But most of all, pick something you care about. It doesn’t have to be the thing you are best at. You can learn. That’s what college is for. Just pick something you care about and that you are willing to devote the time to do well in.”
Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published October 10, 2019.