Determine your future by declaring your major
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012 06:08
Choosing a major is, for many, no simple feat. Not only can it determine a student’s career path, but it can influence the student organizations they become involved with, how they spend their free time and even who they interact with on campus. Declaring a subject as a major has more of an impact than it may seem.
According to the National Academic Advising Association, approximately one-third of college students have undeclared majors. With UCF having 92 bachelor’s degrees, 85 master’s degrees, 30 doctoral degrees, three specialist degrees and one professional degree, it is no wonder students have a hard time deciding.
Dalyenid Cruz, a junior interdisciplinary studies major, said she decided on her major because she had many interests, and interdisciplinary studies incorporates three different majors and minors that ultimately give her a broad education. Like some students, Cruz is also sure of what kind of career she wants to get into but says that it is OK for students to be unsure in the beginning of their college careers.
“When you first start out you’re not sure; you’re still discovering what you want to do, but maybe by the third year you should know,” Cruz said.
According to UCF’s website, all students are expected to declare a major prior to earning 45 college credit hours. Any students who have not declared a major will have their student records placed on an administrative hold until they can meet with an adviser.
Crystal Villmow, a junior education major, says that students should have their major figured out long before they earn 45 credit hours.
“[Students should have decided on their majors] the summer before they start school,” Villmow said. “You don’t want to waste money on classes you don’t need to take.”
The UCF website gives additional reasons for students to declare early. The longer a student waits, the more likely it is that they will prolong their graduation. Deciding early could save students more money and time in their college careers.
According to data collected by the Office of Institutional Research in 2011, UCF students who have chosen majors generally seem to fall into these top five, respectively: psychology, nursing generic, finance, elementary education and hospitality management. Other popular degree programs include criminal justice, event management and health science.
Emily Rank, academic adviser for the First Year Advising and Exploration Office at UCF, said that many students often struggle with a limited knowledge about their own skills and abilities.
“They should talk to their academic adviser and career adviser about doing assessments and getting information on majors and careers of their interests,” Rank said. “We all make decisions at different paces, but getting all the information needed to make a choice that’s right for an individual is the first step."
When UCF first opened its doors in 1968 there was only one campus to meet the demands of 1,948 students. A little more than four decades later in 2011, the school grew to meet demands with 10 regional campuses to serve the enrollment class of 58,698 students, a 96 percent increase since the college first opened. With about 3,600 freshmen enrolled in classes for the upcoming fall semester, the student body isn’t getting any smaller.
Resources are available to students who are undeclared majors, like the UCF Major Exploration Program. MEP provides students with activities that teach them how to evaluate and use the tools from career assessments to determine what major to select. For more information on MEP students can go to http://dk.sdes.ucf.edu/more.