Advising for Students Deciding on a Major

Undeclared and Exploring Students

Not sure of your major? You are not alone! You are part of the 75 percent of college students who either start their college career as undecided or change their major at least once. It's all part of the process of exploring your options.

RWU students who start as exploring can still graduate in four years! In fact, they graduate in four years at the same rate as the rest of the student body. You are not required to declare a major until the end of your third semester, so the key is to use your first few semesters wisely! Roger has lots of resources available to help you evaluate your options and make an informed decision you can feel confident about.

75%

Of American college students start college undecided or change their major

8%

Of new RWU students are undecided (Fall 2023)

How can the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office help me with academic advising?

Professional academic advisors in the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office provide holistic developmental advising to all undecided students as well as any student who may be thinking about changing a major.  These advisors can support students in exploring their interests, identifying their skills and strengths and making a list of areas of study to explore.  Advisors are familiar with RWU's wide array of programs and can refer students to the appropriate faculty in those areas for more detailed conversations about the major.  The professional advisors work with their faculty colleagues to support students in this important decision making. 

Undeclared students are assigned to a professional advisor as they explore their various options. Students who are exploring majors are often referred to the Center for Career and Professional Development to meet with a career advisor.  Information on careers and interest/strength assessments provide students with direction and guide them in becoming career ready.  Lastly, students are also assigned a Peer Mentor to help them make a successful transition to RWU and provide a peer with whom they can discuss ideas and concerns. Peer Mentors are trained on important transition issues, RWU policies and procedures and how to make referrals to campus resources.

This collaborative advising process assists students in selecting courses and other academic opportunities that will help them explore possible majors and begin the process to decide on a course of study.  Students are encouraged to make a decision about a program of study and declare a major by the end of their third semester. This allows students plenty of time to think about what they would like to do in the future and make an academic plan that supports their goals.

Changing Majors, Minors/Core Concentration, Interdisciplinary Individualized Major

For students who are changing majors, adding a minor/core concentration, or want to investigate an Interdisciplinary Individualized Major, the need for academic advising support is critical. Make an appointment with an advisor to discuss your options.

We welcome you to work through the resources below and share the results of the assessments with an advisor in the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office. The advisor will help you make sense of what you are learning about yourself and your options.

  1. Jung Typology Test – This free personality test is based on the work of Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs-Meyers, this test provides a typological approach to personality.  Completion will provide you a description of your personality type which you can use to explore majors and careers. Once complete, send the results (4 letters, ex. INFJ) to a professional advisor in the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office. The advisor will put a packet together for you, which you will review together.
  2. O*NET Online - Tool for career exploration and job analysis. O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more.
  3. Interest Profiler (part of O*NET) - can help you to identify your interests and how those interests relate to the world of work.
  4. What is Your Leaning Style? – Discover your learning style and find out how it influences the way you understand information and solve problems.

Student A is a new student interested in Psychology and Business.

     General Education course (one of the five domains)

     Writing 102 

     Psychology 100

     Business 100

     General Education course or Math 124 (fulfills Math requirement for Business, Psychology, and General Education)

 

Student B is a new student interested in Biology and Computer Science.

     General Education course (one of the five domains)

     Writing 102 

     Biology 103 (if placement is MATH 136) or BIO 101 (if placement is MATH 117)

     Computer Science 110

     Math class (which Math class will depend on placement)

 

Student C is a new student interested in Criminal Justice and Cybersecurity and Networking.

     General Education course (one of the five domains)

     Writing 102 

     SEC 100 - Intro to Personal Computer

     Criminal Justice 105

     COMM 210 - Public Speaking or General Education course 

 

**These are only sample schedules. Classes can vary depending on a variety of factors. Always consult with an advisor for personalized guidance on class selection.

Are you ready to declare a major, minor, or core concentration? The advisors in the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office can help you review the steps necessary to make it official.

Advisors are also on hand to review your academic plan so you can make an informed decision about your academic journey. We will review the curriculum, connect you with faculty in your prospective major, and check your progress in Roger Central.

Major Adjustment Form (MAF)

Catalog

Are you a student interested in Business, Engineering, Construction Management, Architecture, or a major in one of our professional schools? Then speak with an advisor about  prerequisites and other program specific information that will help you determine your next steps.

Major Ambassador Program

Major Ambassadors (MA) are student leaders selected to represent their academic program and are available to their peers who want to learn more about various programs. MAs are recognized by their faculty/Dean for being knowledgeable about program offerings, are leaders who represent their school well, and are interested in helping other students. 

Organized by the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office and the Center for Career and Professional Development, information sessions will run once a month for any student who is interested in learning more about a particular major. 

Want to be a Major Ambassador? Contact Valerie Wolstenholme for more information.
Valerie Wolstenholme
401-254-3188
vwolstenholme@rwu.edu

Am I behind if I begin my college journey undeclared?
Not at all. On average nationally, 75% of students change their major during their college years. Many students are unsure of their career path and for those students, being undeclared is the right choice so they have an opportunity to explore.

How do I change my major? 
Students are free to change their major whenever they want. We strongly encourage students to consult with their faculty advisor before making a decision. Students are also welcome to speak to a professional advisor in CSAS’s Advising & Peer Mentorship Office should they require further consultation. Students should be aware that some programs have requirements that need to be met before they are approved to change their major. See Ready to Declare tab for more information.

I have no idea what I want to major in… where do I start?  
As an Undeclared student, you are assigned a professional advisor who specializes in working with exploratory students. Set up an appointment with an advisor to help begin the exploratory conversation about your interests, goals, and passions!

Can I still graduate in 4 years? 
Yes! Most students who begin as undeclared graduate at the same rate as those in declared majors. Think of your graduation requirements in thirds - 1/3 major requirements, 1/3 general education requirements, and 1/3 other. The last third can be used to explore your options, add a minor (or two!), or the addition of a second major. 

What courses should I take as an Undeclared student?
Undeclared students should take a mix of required General Education courses, and introductory classes based on the student's interests and passions. See tab Sample of Undeclared Student Schedule.

RWU has many majors I like, but I would really like to customize a major… how do I do this? 
Students who are interested in creating their own major should speak to their advisor who can guide them through the process.

What if I wish to change my career after I graduate from RWU? 
Most people change their career paths several times throughout their lives and students should feel confident that the combination of their experiences at RWU will prepare them well for those changes in their career path.