Undecided majors aren’t the worst


ASWSU uncertified Sen. Lindsay Schilperoort talks about what the university can do to help undecided undergraduate majors.

RIDGE PETERSON, Evergreen columnist

For many students at WSU, deciding on a major can be a daunting and stressful task. The pressure from peers, advisers and professors to make this choice as soon as possible combined with the large number of options and the anxiety of college in general, can be overwhelming.

Despite all the financial and social pressure to graduate as soon as possible, the most beneficial steps for a student to take are to keep an open mind, explore different options and not be afraid to use the resources WSU provides.

According to a nationwide study reported by WSU, about 80 percent of college students are unsure of their major or field of study when they first enroll in a university. Even among those who have decided on their major, many change course during college.

It is also important for students, even those who already have a major in mind, to understand the benefits of taking a variety of classes. Not only does this open up more possibilities should a student find their current major is not working for them, but it also helps to make WSU students better versed and well-rounded people.

Currently, the UCORE requirements expose students to entry-level classes in a wide variety of studies. All WSU students, regardless of their major or area of interest, are required to complete these courses in order to graduate.

ASWSU Sen. Lindsay Schilperoort, who represents uncertified students, said that UCORE is a major part of helping students take a balanced, complete and diverse course schedule.

“The point of UCORE,” Schilperoort said, “is to come away [from WSU] with a well-rounded base of knowledge.”

Some WSU students believe the univesity should do away with UCORE and allow students to take only classes aligned with their major, she said. While it is understandable that many of us want to get our degrees as quickly as possible, students should keep an open mind when exposed to classes outside their original area of interest.

Some students may even find that a certain subject is a better fit for them than their original major, once they start taking the different classes UCORE offers.

Another helpful tip is to use existing resources such as the Academic Success and Career Center, which helps line students up with work experience in a certain area. Many students aren’t able to get a concept of what it’s like to work in a field until they already start their job. This makes it hard for many students, especially underclassmen, to know what they want to study and how to translate it to a career they will be successful and happy in.

Schilperoort also suggested WSU open a career fair dedicated to helping undecided majors get a concept of what kind of career they would like. Employers would be able to speak directly to students about the type of jobs they offer, and what degrees they look for.

This would help students tailor their degree to the type of career they want, instead of picking a major and then wondering what kind of job they can get.

WSU should keep looking for ways to help the uncertified students here, between making sure they have chances to enroll in a variety of courses to providing resources to teach them about different opportunities.

It is always worth remembering that although school is stressful and fast-paced, and choosing a direction can seem daunting at times, there is no shame in taking time to explore the vast number of opportunities available to students.

Ridge Peterson is a junior marketing and economics major from Woodinville. He can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of The Office of Student Media.