Improve TU #16: Offer fairs for students to shop for majors

Students who have not yet decided on a major will be able to get an in-depth look at each with a fair.

In university life, someone’s major tends to play a large part in their identity. One of the first questions many students ask when they first meet is “Oh, what’s your major” and the answer will usually affect first impressions. However, there are some people who have not yet found their answer yet, so they simply say they are undecided.

There is nothing wrong with someone being undecided; it is much better to be exploring your options than trapped in courses that you hate. However, there are benefits as well when someone finally finds out what it is they want to do. Having a specific direction lets them optimize their focus, coursework and even résumé to be more attractive to potential employers and/or graduate schools.

Many people who are undeclared majors are those who have yet to find their true passion. From their perspective, there are a lot of options in front of them, yet none of them stand out.

These students are likely getting help from their advisors, but sometimes it is difficult to convey all the experiences one may have of a major if the advisor does not have firsthand experience in each. A more in-depth way for these wandering students to find what lights their fire is for them to get an actual experience of that major.

Ideally, they could immerse themselves in each major until they found one they could be passionate about, but that would be far too time-consuming.

The realistic approach is to have an event that presents just a taste of each major.
Just as job-seeking students and companies benefit from career fairs, undeclared students and departments alike could greatly benefit from having something similar.

This “Majors Fair” could be split up into areas based on departments with professors and/or graduate assistants from each major present. They will be there mainly to answer questions and show off their discipline’s greatest features. If scheduling is an issue then each department could stagger when their majors are presented (e.g. Accounting, Marketing, etc. at 11 a.m.; CIS, Management, etc. at 12 p.m.).

Another feature of the fair could be a showcase of sorts. For example, Mechanical Engineering could show off their catapult projects and even explain the mechanics behind it to curious students. Adding this dimension to the fair would help to bring real-life examples right in front of the searching students.

Many universities already have taken this approach, such as Oklahoma State University, Pennsylvania State and the University of Washington. With these fairs, these institutions have had even greater success with converting their undecided students earlier than their respective mandatory deadlines. There is no reason why the University of Tulsa cannot do the same.

By having these “Major Fairs” every semester, undeclared students will be able to get a more personal look at each of the disciplines. Additionally, they will be able to meet and connect with professors that they may have never seen otherwise. Bringing about better student-faculty connections will only serve to benefit the overall culture of the university. And, in the end, that is so incredibly important in these formative years.

Post Author: Brian Kwiecinski