By Shira Torchinsky
For the Mitzpeh
When the school year starts, the usual challenges start to show up. The work begins to pile up, tests and quizzes are scheduled, and for all those taking STAT 100, those MINITAB assignments keep on coming.
An added stress for freshmen — and some sophomores — is deciding what to major in. With 90 majors offered through 10 different schools at this university, the decision can seem overwhelming.
The Office of Letters and Sciences, the advising department for undecided students, provides academic advising for nearly 4,000 students who are deciding on majors, according to its website.
While so many come into college without a major, for freshman Leah Silinsky, it was different. She started school this year as a history major. She decided in her senior year of high school that history was for her.
Silinsky said she chose her major through a process of elimination.
“I chose history because math and science were out of the question, and history seemed interesting to me, so I just declared it,” Silinsky said.
One strategy for choosing a major is to take classes in a variety of subjects and see which ones catch one’s interest. Gen-Ed, or general education classes, are required curriculum broadening classes that can provide a structured way for undecided students to try out subjects. The Gen-Ed program’s mission includes strengthening knowledge in major areas of study and broadening students’ understanding of the world in which they live and work, according to its website.
Silinsky said sitting through loads of Gen-Ed courses is tough because she already knows what she wants to study. She is eager to begin taking courses that better pertain to her major.
Though Gen-Eds may stand in the way of taking classes that actually pertain to one’s major, they also can allow undecided students to step into different fields, try out new subjects, and find their interests in places they wouldn’t otherwise have looked.
“Gen-Eds are necessary because it teaches you other skills you need to know. It helps in life if you are good at more than one specific subject,” freshman fire protection engineering major Madison Curtis said.
A survey of majors within this university’s Jewish community found that psychology, government and politics, computer science, and various branches of engineering were most popular. Sixty-five people responded to the survey. A 2014 U.S. News and World Report survey found that the five most popular majors at this university were biology, criminology, economics, psychology, and accounting.