Some colleges ease up on pushing undergrads into picking majors right away
Dickinson College in Pennsylvania this summer is debuting a program called “Explore More: Jumpstart to Connecting the Dots” to help students consider their strengths and interests and what they might most like to study. Boston College is offering something similar, called True North — a reference to the geographic North Pole, rather than the magnetic pole of a compass — during orientation this summer, for the first time, to new students and their parents.
“We tell them, ‘Have your antennas up like explorers and take it all in, because we’re going to give you opportunities, almost like a buffet, to explore and discover,’ ” said MarySheila McDonald, until this summer dean of the School of Business at La Salle University in Philadelphia, another institution that encourages a less hurried way of deciding on majors.
The movement also raises questions about who is being sped through the academic-major pipeline and who gets to enjoy the luxury of browsing; the almost paralyzing number of choices of majors at some schools; and the difficulty students have connecting vaguely labeled academic disciplines (“integrative physiology”) with real-world careers.
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