Majors fair helps freshmen narrow their focus

Alison Ritchie

It’s a decision that could affect the rest of your life and many students make before they’re 18 years old: choosing a college major.

Kent State held a majors fair for freshman and other undeclared students Wednesday in the Student Center. Before choosing a major, students often consider different factors, including their interests and abilities. With the current recession, the job market for a particular field has also weighed on the minds of deciding students.

“Most people only go to college once for an undergraduate degree, so there’s a sense that you’re making a decision for a lifetime,” said Emmanuel Dechenaux, associate professor of economics. “So, clearly, the current recession matters, but I think [students] really need to look ahead of that. Things are going to turn around.”

Melissa Fenn, an academic advisor for the College of Nursing, said while the job market should be a factor in a student’s decision, they should avoid just picking a career that’s popular at the time.

“We’ll see that in nursing. People will say, ‘Well I hear there’s lots of jobs in nursing, so I want to be a nurse,’” Fenn said. “That’s not the right reason to be a nurse.”

Many students tend to pursue majors that encompass their interests.

Freshman Kelly Loveless attended the majors fair as a requirement for her First Year Experience class, even though she has already chosen to study Early Childhood Education.

“I just really like teaching children, so I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I picked up stuff that interested me, and if I didn’t have a major, this would have been really helpful, seeing them all together.”

Fenn said the fair gave students the opportunity to gather an immense amount of information that they wouldn’t otherwise find in such a short period of time.

“It can be tough for students to find the time to make an appointment with an advisor in this college or that college,” she said. “Particularly for [undecided majors] to make a decision this is extremely beneficial.”

While a major or career might sound interesting, Fenn advises students not to stray too far from their academic abilities. She said, for example, students whose strengths don’t lie in math and science should avoid majors with those as the core focus of their academic classes.

“Those classes in your majors should be the ones that you find enjoyment out of,” she said.

Becca Hollis, academic recruitment and retention coordinator for the College of the Arts, said having a passion for your major is key to a student’s future.

“Every student is different, but in most cases, if you don’t love what you’re doing you’re not going to be successful,” said Hollis. “We find that many of our students are really following what their passion is.”

E-mail Alison Ritchie at [email protected].