By: Courtney Bottorff
Walking onto a college campus can be intimidating on its own, but it can be especially overwhelming when the question, “What is your major?” is presented to a student who just hasn’t found their place in a higher education setting.
Grad assistant and student advisor at the University of Kansas, Katlin Bottorff experiences undecided majors on a regular basis.
“First and foremost, we like to refer to the “undecided” as deciding. That has a much more positive connotation to it. Also, we don’t raise concern over freshman and even sophomores who have yet to decide on their major, once they become a junior and still do not have a decision, that’s when we become involved and push for them to find their niche”- Katlin Bottorff.
Katie Wood, a student at WPU, once declared herself “undecided” towards the beginning of her college career before transferring to WPU. Today, she is majoring in American Government and History, and has added pre-law to her plans.
“Originally I went to Indian Hills because I thought at the time that’s what I was supposed to do. I had no idea at the time what I wanted to go to school for,” stated Wood. She continued on to say, “Since I was unsure about what I wanted to do, I didn’t take my classes seriously and really screwed up, until I took an American National Government class… I took the enjoyment I received from that class and decided to run with it.”
A common misconception of deciding majors is that they just don’t care- and while that may be correct in some cases, for most they simply haven’t found their calling yet. For the deciding crowd, this gives them an opportunity to explore different career paths through a variety of required general education courses, similar to the history course Wood took which kick-started her passion for history and government.
“If you’re headed into college as a deciding, just breathe and find your support system in advisors, mentors, teammates, and peers. Look at your interests, but really look into your classes and the grades you got and why you did so well, or not so well. That’s a great starting place because there’s probably something about that class or those classes that interested you… The more you expose yourself to, the easier it will be to gauge your interests and ultimately you’ll find your direction in college.”- Katlin Bottorff
For many, the common fear and concern of being a deciding major is all too realistic. It’s happening on campuses everywhere, including William Penn. Whether a student goes into college with minimal knowledge of what their career passions are or they switch majors due to a change in heart, one thing is clear, they’re deciding.