Each year, thousands of hopeful applicants apply to Temple. Along with the standard college application questions, prospective students must list an intended major.
Temple offers more than 120 undergraduate majors, yet approximately 750 to 800 freshmen come in undeclared. Director of the Division of University Studies Karen Sofranko said that since people switch in and out of majors, there are almost 1,700 undeclared students this year alone.
“I really haven’t found anything I want to pursue,” undeclared freshman Alexis James said. “I was thinking about majoring in psychology, but I plan on going to career workshops to help me decide.”
For those students who don’t know what they want to major in, Sofranko thinks starting out undeclared is the best way to go.
“Students who are undeclared can meet with advisers who can show them the broad range of curriculum available,” Sofranko said. “That way a student doesn’t get pigeon-holed in a major.”
A student who takes courses in a specific major and then wants to change it might face some difficulty, especially if the two majors greatly differ from one another. At that point, a student may need to complete additional semesters to graduate. Some stick with majors they no longer enjoy to avoid the extra classes.
Diana Estrada, an academic adviser in the business department, has seen it happen.
“A good number of students change majors in the middle of the year,” Estrada said. “They’ll start out in accounting, then say ‘forget about it’ in terms of taking it a second semester.”
But Michael Szekely, a coordinator at the Center for Internships and Career Development, said he doesn’t view changing majors as unwise.
“I believe that this can be a good thing, especially if the switch in major runs concurrently with any shifting or developing interests, both in terms of academics and career,” Szekely said.
It’s also important to pursue career-driven activities, he said.
“It’s better that students learn things about their possible career paths now and not at the end of their senior year, at which point they’ll come into my office and say ‘help me,'” Szekely said.
Sophomore Ashley Blount started out in communications, switched from broadcast to magazine journalism, and now is currently undecided.
“I wanted a broader range, but I know I want to do something in the communications field,” Blount said.
For those students who are completely undecided or just need a push in the right direction, Career Development Services may be the place to turn.
“Last year, 1,141 students visited CDS to discuss choosing a major,” career coordinator Mary Claire Dismukes said.
Located on the second floor of Mitten Hall, students can talk with counselors and take self-assessment tests at CDS.
“An integral part of our mission is to assist Temple students in making a successful transition from the classroom to the workplace,” Dismukes said.
Whether you are confused, unsure or just apathetic, picking a major isn’t something you have to go at alone.
Kathleen Garvin can be reached at email@example.com.