Over 1,600 first-year UGA students in the 2014 incoming class changed their majors at least once, 800 students twice, and 250 students three times. This translates to nearly 3,000 students in courses they may not have needed! The University of Georgia has created the Exploratory Center to work closely with all kinds of exploring and undecided students – everyone from students who are not 100% sure about their major; students who don’t have a clue about the 130 majors, 87 minors and 49 certificate programs that are available to them; and those students who simply need help navigating UGA’s vast academic environment. We want you to know that it’s okay to be undecided and that you are not alone! Our goal is to create an environment that allows students to explore their academic options while discovering their interests, passions, goals and values, all while working towards degree completion.
Academic advisors in the Exploratory Center are specially trained to help students identify a major that aligns with their interests and skills. Advisors understand that this requires a series of meetings each semester. During these meetings, Explore advisors help students understand the anatomy of an undergraduate degree, encourage students to examine their values, interests and goals to promote self-authorship, as well as identify and connect students to resources for additional information and support. Nearly every appointment ends with assignments with learning goals and objectives to guide students through the major declaration process.
Students are able to make multiple appointments with their Explore advisor each semester. Explore advisors can help students in creating a specialized degree plan and building a course plan tailored to allow them to explore their specific interests in the upcoming semesters. Students should make an appointment:
• When they are considering majors, minors, and certificate programs.
• When they are experiencing successes or failures in their current semester.
• When it is time to register for next semester’s classes.
• When they simply want to talk with someone on campus.
UGA students use SAGE to make appointments with advisors. Students who have recently changed their major to undecided and have not been assigned an advisor can complete an online referral form. Students can also visit the Exploratory Center’s Walk-In and Explore Hours.
Once you have been assigned an Explore advisor, follow these steps to make an appointment:
- Log into SAGE.
- Go to your Success Network.
- Look for the name of your advisor. They will be listed as your Primary Advisor.
- Click on your Primary Advisor’s name.
- Select any available appointment.
Myth #1 - "I'll just figure it out eventually." Just waiting and hoping will not necessarily help you explore. You will need to do some work and self-reflection to find your path. Choosing to just let it happen eventually may mean needing to stay in school for an extra semester or two – which can cost more financially and delay graduation.
Myth #2 - "Once I've chosen a major, I won't be able to change." Some majors are easier to change than others due to prerequisites and course requirements; however, no student should continue in a major that isn’t the right fit. This myth highlights the importance of exploring earlier in your academic career so that when you do choose a major, you’re confident that it’s the right choice for you.
Myth #3 - "When I choose a major, I'll have chosen a career for my entire life." It is important to major in an area of study, a subject that you enjoy, not necessarily a career choice. That major may lead to a specific career, but it may not. It is important to know that most people today change jobs and even career paths several times throughout their lives. The Exploratory Center often works in tandem with the Career Center to connect students to opportunities such as internships, résumé writing workshops, and career fairs that can often lead to job opportunities. There is more to getting a job than choosing a major!
Majors: UGA’s majors consist of a concentration of courses grouped around one theme area. Majors’ requirements usually range from 22 to 38 hours.
Double Major: UGA’s double major allows students to complete two Bachelor’s degrees in the same college, such as a BS in Biology and a BS in Psychology. Dual Degree: UGA’s dual degree allows students to complete two Bachelor’s degrees of different types, for example, a BS in Psychology and a BBA degree in Marketing. Requirements for both majors as well as both colleges have to be completed.
Areas of Emphasis: Some majors offer the student the opportunity to specialize in a particular area. For example, Biology majors can choose an emphasis in Neuroscience.
Minors: A minor is a less extensive concentration in an academic field. Students use minors to develop a skill, interest, or talent. Minors’ requirements usually range from 15-18 hours.
Certificate: These programs can pull courses together from a variety of disciplines to form a coherent theme or offer classes that all focus on a clear academic or technical field.
Campus Resources Career Center:
Maggie O’Brien is a Career Consultant for undecided and exploring students. She has a background in counseling and is eager to talk with students who are unsure regarding their majors. She helps our students understand their interests, skills and goals regarding the best fit for their career path. Students can connect with Maggie in a number of ways:
- Call the Career Center at 706-542-3375 to make an appointment or schedule the appointment online via Handshake.
- Drop by the Exploratory Center to visit during Explore Hours
- Stop by the Career Center’s Drop-in Hours
Student can take three assessments and have a comprehensive discussion with Maggie about the results. To obtain the passwords to take the Type Focus and the Strong Interest Inventory, please call the Career Center at (706) 542-3375:
- O*NET Interest Profiler - Career exploration tool that can help students discover their interests as it relations to possible occupations
- Type Focus - Personality assessment that supports students with self-discovery and aids them in identifying the best fit in regards to a career.
- Strong Interest Inventory ($30) – Career Assessment intended to provide students with insights into their interests and possible career options. Please contact the Career Center to arrange testing.
UGA’s Bulletin - The Bulletin highlights the requirements for all majors, minors and certificate programs offered at UGA. It also includes historical syllabi for courses taught at the University. In addition, it allows you to compare up to four different majors’ requirements.
DegreeWorks - Online degree audit system used by UGA to record a student’s progress in satisfying degree requirements. Built into the system is a “What if" option that allows students to see how courses they’ve already completed will fit into the requirements of any major they are considering. This allows students to understand the remaining requirements of any majors offered on campus.
Occupational Outlook Handbook – This website is a career resource that contains information on the majority of occupations in the United States. Students are able to research the following information:
- The occupation’s duty requirements and work environment
- The occupation’s education and training requirements
- The occupation’s median compensation
ExploreHealthCareers.Org - This website is useful for any student who is interested in a health professions career but isn’t sure which one.
Look at the major checklist on the Career Center's website. Cross out any major you know you are not interested in. Highlight any major you are interested in.
Choose three of the highlighted majors. Look those majors up in the Bulletin and answer the following questions:
- What college is the major housed in?
- What are the college requirements for that college?
- Are any preferred course identified for the core? Have you taken any of those preferred courses?
- Is it a high-demand major? Will you have to apply to the major?
- How many credits are required in the major requirements?
Choose three possible professions you think you might be interested in and look them up in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Write a brief reflection for each profession based on what you learn from the handbook. Make sure to look at the following tabs: What They Do, How to Become One, Pay, Job Outlook, and Similar Occupations.
Here are some questions to think about when writing your reflection:
- How much education is required? Will you have to continue to go to school after graduation from UGA?
- What are the job duties and responsibilities of that profession? Can you imagine yourself in that role from day to day? Which job duties would you enjoy? Which would you not enjoy?
- Consider the work environment. How well would you fit into that environment? Is the job indoors or outdoors? Would you work alone or as part of a team? Would you work autonomously or would you not have much independence?
- Is the pay commensurate with the lifestyle you hope to achieve?
- What is the job outlook? Is the need for that profession projected to grow or decline? Is the outlook for Georgia different than for the nation?
- What are some similar professions you might consider?