Choosing a Major Resources

Advisors in academic departments may assume they will be working only with students who have already settled on a specific major in their respective department. You will also meet with some students, however who have not reached that point in their development or planning. Students may contact you and be in a variety of situations: they may be interested in the general subject area but not know which major is the best fit, have a major in mind but lack academic credentials for admission, or be truly undecided and unsure of how to start the process for choosing a major.
Benefits to choosing a major early:

  • Advising by the academic department specific to the student’s major.
  • Access to major-restricted courses.
  • Finding out about major-related opportunities within the department.
  • Graduate in a timely manner.
Viking Advisor Image from Page 43

The following are suggested as a way to work with students who come to advisors for help choosing or declaring a major:

  • Ask them questions to find out more about their strengths, interests and career ideas. Discuss the student’s career goals to find out how a major(s) might help them meet those goals.
  • Direct students to choosing a major resources available on the Academic Advising Center and Career Services Center websites.
  • Help students understand all of their options by checking out Western’s Programs of Study and review the department websites for additional information. Students are encouraged to contact the department to initiate the major declaration process.
  • Assess the student’s status by reviewing their academic history, asking if they have a major in mind. If so, check for congruence of coursework and/or look for trends in course selection and grades. Refer students to other possible programs of study if valuable.
  • Outline next steps for the student to help them understand what they need to do to keep moving in the right direction.
Page Updated 10.15.2018