Timely graduation is a difficult task for some double majors.
As the fall semester comes to a close and students continue to register for courses, some students completing a double major may find themselves having increased difficulty.
“I chose to be a double major because I have a high interest level in both environmental science and geology, and I’ll possibly be going to grad school with a concentration in either degree,” said Leslee Everett, a junior environmental studies and geology major.
Double majoring tends to carry a stigma that suggests students won’t be able to graduate on time.
“It’s about prioritizing,” Vanessa Destime, a senior communications and political science major, said. “Knowing what your schedule is, knowing what you want to do and when you want to graduate [is important.]”
“I guess you can call it the rumor mill but the truth is, graduating in four years has become more like graduating in five years or four-and-a-half years,” Destime added.
Julian White, associate director for undergraduate advising, suggests students considering a double major should regularly meet with advisers to set up a plan.
“Develop a plan,” White said. “I would say the number one thing I would encourage any student to do who is considering a dual major is to map out how long it will take them to complete it.”
“What students don’t often appreciate is that if they are doing a double major across two schools or colleges it requires more than just completing the requirements for the major, but the requirements for the second school or college as well, which may not always overlap so it may delay their graduation significantly if they don’t plan accordingly,” White added.
Everett said many classes tend to overlap, which is easier.
“The only issue I’ve been having is with class scheduling and people not knowing what’s required for a double major,” Everett said.
Instead choosing a second major, some students decide to take on a minor instead.
“A minor just isn’t something you can add on,” Gina Fisichella, an art education major and dance minor, said. “It should definitely be something you can dedicate yourself to as much as your major. It still feels like as much work as your major. When I’m in my dance classes I almost feel as if I am a dance major.”
The possibility of taking electives outside of one’s own major also disappears when having to complete requirements for two schools.
“I take the same amount of credits as everyone else I just don’t have as much free time in my schedule as other students have,” Everett said. “I know some of my friends get to take fun classes like yoga and stuff, but I don’t have that time in my schedule because I have two majors and need to fill the requirements for both of them.”
White said students should be mindful of the undergraduate bulletin that corresponds to course catalogs so that they can keep track of what requirements are needed for each of their majors.
“However, to the extent that the advisers in both schools or colleges share duties, the student should not just be seeing the adviser from their primary major to discuss dual enrollment,” White said.
Everett said that his two majors fall under College of Science and Technology.
“The issues I have come between department head and advising,” Everett said. “So I see one advisor, but there’s also a department adviser I have to run everything by when I decide on something.”
“I think something students don’t realize is that their adviser does not come to them, [students] have to come to [their advisers],” Destime said. “It’s not like high school where someone is writing you a progress report [telling you what to do]. If you don’t ask the questions you won’t have anyone to guide you.”
While Destime and Everett plan to graduate on time, Fisichella will be graduating one semester late.
Luis Rodriguez can be reached at email@example.com.