Students who wait too long to declare a major will hear from an academic advisor
By Sabrina Canady,
Choosing a major is an exciting part of college giving students an opportunity to focus in on their academic interests and think about their futures.
Explore majors at Western:
- Visit the Majors Fair Feb. 2 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room.
- Make a "Choosing a Major" appointment with an Academic Advisor or Career Counselor.
- Check out the Academic Advising Center’s “Choosing a Major” website.
- Become familiar with Western's Major Guides and General University Requirement (GUR) courses.
- Complete a FOCUS Career Assessment
- Check out academic department websites and talk to faculty in areas of interest
- Learn more at “What can I do with a major in…?”
- Review the annual report of the employment status of recent graduates
It’s a big decision that takes careful consideration. But students who prolong the selection process are at great risk of not graduating on time.
So Western is stepping up efforts to encourage students to declare a major in a timely manner. Those who have earned 105 credits without declaring a major will need to work closely with advisors to get their graduation plans on track.
Western highly recommends that most students choose a major and identify the declaration requirements no later than the completion of 60 credits so they may officially declare their major by 90 credits. However, students interested in majors such as natural science, pre-health, technology or fine and performing arts should begin pre-requisites and major coursework their first year. Transfer and Running Start students who enter Western with 75 -plus completed credits are given two quarters to connect with departments and complete requirements to declare their major.
But if a student hasn’t declared a major by 105 credits, he or she will hear from the Academic Advising Center and Student Outreach Services, whose advisors will support students with their academic planning and progress towards declaring a major and graduation. Students who do not respond to outreach from these advisors will have a hold on their registration, which means they will not be able to register for classes until they meet with an advisor.
Undeclared students with 105 credits will get an email from academic advisors asking them to identify what their intended major is, and to describe what their plan is to meet the requirements to declare that major. An academic advisor reviews their answer and clears the student for registration if they’re on track. But if the student doesn’t have a realistic plan, they must meet in person with an advisor before they can register for more classes.
In some cases declaration is as simple as visiting the department to talk to an advisor. More often there are specific GPA and course requirements that must be met before being eligible to declare. (Not meeting these GPA requirements is the most common reason students aren’t eligible to declare the major they’re interested in.) A few majors require an application, sometimes including a portfolio or interview, to determine their eligibility. It may take a few quarters after choosing a major to be eligible to declare that major. You and your students can view major declaration requirements for each major via the “Major Guides”.
Families can help their students by being aware of Western’s expectations concerning academic progress, offering observations about your students’ talents and strengths and, if appropriate, giving students a “gentle nudge” toward timely major declaration.