Exploratory/Undecided

We understand that selecting a major can be an intimidating process, and indeed, such a decision should be made only after careful consideration of one's interests and strengths and attention to long range goals.

At Saint Michael's, the selection of a major is a two-step process: incoming students may make a tentative selection of a major, or they can choose to be exploratory. It is not unusual for our students to change their initial choices between admission and arrival on campus and also during their first year. Only after some relevant coursework and discussions with one's faculty advisor, faculty in relevant departments and peers does the student make a formal commitment to a major sometime between the second and fourth semesters.

Recognizing the importance of this decision, and mindful that undergraduate life is an intellectual journey, the most popular "major" selected by incoming students is exploratory. Here at Saint Michael's, we prefer the term exploratory to "undecided" as it is a more active commitment to student reflection and matching available programs to interests, strengths and long term goals.   

Exploratory students are encouraged to enroll in courses which will broaden their understanding of the available fields of study and refine their thinking toward finding the right match. Often, the vehicle for this search is through the framework of the Liberal Studies Requirements which expose students to the diverse options available through 29 majors and 25 minors, or an approved self-designed major. Certain majors, because of the nature of knowledge in the field and accreditation requirements, require an earlier decision than others; students should be aware of these restrictions as they examine their options.

While selection of a major is an important decision, the long-term correlation between one's undergraduate major and career can be overstated. In a time of significant social and economic change, contemporary students will likely engage in multiple careers with job descriptions that have yet to be created. The best preparation for the future is the broad study of liberal arts coupled with specialized study in an area of interest, the major. Exploratory students undertake the active search to integrate their skills and interests to a subject; it is an experience and developed skill which will serve them well in life.

Jonathan D'Amore, Associate Dean of the College
Klein Hall 108
802.654.2347
Box 381
jdamore@smcvt.edu

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