Program helps students find majors
Many students come to IU with a good idea of what major they want to pursue, but for others, this decision is not so easy.
Many resources that can help with this decision exist around campus, but students do not know they are there, said Thomas Kenyon, exploratory student services coordinator.
The National Resource Center for the Freshman Experience said 20 to 50 percent of entering freshmen are undecided on a major. Fifty to 60 percent of college students change their majors after entering.
Kenyon said the three most common groups of majors chosen by freshmen are college of arts and sciences, business and exploratory or undecided.
"Exploratory is a positive way of looking at it ' you decided to enter college, explore your options and make an educated decision about it," Kenyon said.
Kenyon said that when talking with exploratory students one-on-one, he often finds each student feels like he or she is the only one having trouble finding a major. This is not the case, he said.
"There are over 100 majors here at IU," Kenyon said. "Every major here is a good major, but that does not mean that you as an individual can't make the wrong choice."
Junior Brian Kanowsky said he came to IU with many ideas on what he wanted to do, but chose the exploratory major to weigh his options.
"I was an exploratory major when I came in, and I really didn't know what I wanted to do," Kanowsky said. "I thought I was going to go English or comp. lit, maybe journalism, but I had no clue."
Kenyon said he recommends starting the exploration process by the end of September and having some goal or major in mind by the end of freshmen year.
"I personally think every student should do some of the same things exploratory students do to decide if they're making the right choice on a major."
Kenyon said he recommends going to the Choosing your Major workshops that are conducted monthly at the Briscoe and Ashton Academic Centers. The first workshop is tonight at 7 p.m. at Briscoe Quad.
He also recommends going to University Division advisers and advisers at various academic offices that interest a student, as well as visiting the various Web sites created by University Division and Exploratory Student Services.
Kanowsky said visiting the Career Development Center helped him with his decision on a major.
"I knew I was interested in law school, so I went to the Career Development Center," Kanowsky said. "They were absolutely great in helping out."
Kenyon said it is not only important the student chooses a major he or she likes, but also one with classes that the student does well in.
"I think it is important to look both at the academic and the career side," Kenyon said.
For those students who have an idea of what major they want but can not find the major within the curriculums at IU, the Individualized Major Program allows students to create their own majors and design their own academic plans, said Rima Merriman, Individualized Major Program Coordinator.
"The IMP is pretty much for people who know what they want to do but cannot find it here at IU," Merriman said.
She said the ideal year to start the program is sophomore year, but the program does accept students from other levels other than second year. The process of entering the program involves finding a faculty sponsor, designing a curriculum and several interviews, she said.
Since the program is interdisciplinary, Merriman said, students who have interest in the IMP need to have self-discipline and a good idea of what they want to do.
Merriman said people like IMP because the program lets them do what they want to do, designing their own course schedule. These students earn a liberal arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences.
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