Undeclared students may find answers

Ashlee Clark

Deciding on a major can be more than just a minor detail in a student’s academic life.

A Major Fair will take place from 3:30 to 5:30 Wednesday in the Garrett Ballroom to help students learn about majors offered at Western.

The fair will be open to anyone who wants more information about a particular major, advising associate Bethany Smith said.

Having a large number of departments together at one time will help students choose or change their major, Smith said.

Ingrid Woods, assistant director of academic advising, said she saw the idea for major fairs at several conferences she has attended.

She said that she believes that deciding on a major can give students an incentive to stay in college.

“Retention is another aspect of the fair,” Woods said. “Students tend to stay if they have a major, when they feel like they have something to work for.”

Woods said she hopes that at least 50 departments participate and 200 students attend.

Kathryn Abbott, undergraduate advisor for history and social studies, will be at the fair to answer any questions students might have about her department, such as what to do with a degree in history.

“I’m not going to try to push anything on anybody,” Abbott said.

She said handouts and literature about the department will be available.

Woods said all of the departments from the Gordon Ford College of Business and Potter College will be attending the fair. Departments from the College of Health and Human Services, College of Education and Ogden College will also participate.

Smith said both undeclared students and those who have decided on a certain college but not a specific major are the target of the event and will be sent an e-mail about the fair.

The Academic Advising Office helps the 1000 generally undeclared students at Western.

All department heads were asked to participate in the fair, Smith said.

Freshman seminar instructors were also notified of the event.

Woods said that the majority of undeclared students are freshmen because they are still trying to figure out “who they are and what they’re actually interested in” as they enter college.

Most students declare a major during the second semester of their sophomore year, she said.

The Academic Advising department plans on making the fair an annual event, Smith said.

“It is something that we can improve on, depending on what happens,” she said.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected].