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Features Uncategorized — 13 February 2013

By Alexa Hyman

According to Dr. Fritz Grupe, founder of MyMajors.com, 80 percent of students entering college have yet to choose a major. Beginning this year, Albion College will host a weeklong event to help students decide what major is right for them.

Between Feb. fourth and eighth, faculty members worked to plan daily events to represent different fields students can learn more about and choose to study during their four years at Albion. These different events make up Declare-A-Major Week, which collected 45 declarations of majors and minors by the final day.

“Currently, we have 119 sophomores and another dozen or so juniors or seniors who are undeclared,” said John Woell, associate dean and founder of the event.

Woell says he has a personal stake in this, as well.  He struggled to choose a major in college and changed his mind five times on which field he’d like to study.

“We wanted Declare-A-Major Week to make the exploration of options easier and more open and less reliant on the personal and sometimes coincidental contact that students have with faculty,” Woell said.

The event was also aimed to transition students from their original F.Y.E. advisor and match them with an advisor appropriate to their field of interest.

“I think it’s good to have an opportunity where students can be celebrated for making a decision that is an important one,” said Ian MacInnes, chair of the English department.

Students who have not declared by the end of their sophomore year are more likely not to return to school fall of their junior year. Woell said the event worked to prevent this national occurrence.

“The goals are pretty straightforward:  help students explore their options and connect their values to a field of study, make declaring a major and finding an advisor easy and straightforward, get students attached to good departmental advisors and have a little fun and good snacks along the way,” Woell said.  “By the way, education’s popcorn yesterday was really tasty!”

This event also catered to students who have already made commitments to certain institutes on campus.

“It’s still important to explore all of the opportunities at a place like Albion to make sure that the major they want to pick is right for them,” said Emily Nolan, director of the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute.  “I think it’s a great opportunity where it’s easy for them to meet with departments and do a little exploration.”

Faculty members were able to clarify with students visiting their tables about what different majors or minors included and which would best fit their interests and classes already taken.

“In the end, it is all about the Albion Advantage – connecting students and their values to their future successes, whether these are internships, research opportunities, jobs or graduate schools,” Woell said.

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Alexa Hyman

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