Della Bitta, Albert [faculty advisor, College of Business Administration]
Lyons, Linda [faculty advisor, University College undecided advisor]
undecided; choosing a major; personal development; academic advising; major exploration
Entering college without a major has become more prevalent over the past decade. Colleges and universities are opening their arms to the undecided, providing them with extensive resources and assistance to help direct them to a major and, ultimately, a career. The University of Rhode Island has admitted an increasing number of undeclared incoming freshmen over the past few years. This fall semester, approximately fifteen percent of freshman class did not declare a major prior to starting classes. This percentage of students represents a very special group at the University College. The undecided academic advisors at the University College developed programs, courses, special housing and a peer mentoring program designed for the purpose of supporting these student’s needs. My experiences as a peer mentor in University College and observing the academic advisors in action over the past two years has led me to see the importance of setting undecided students on the right path from the beginning. The Rhode Map to Success Handbook will be the student’s first step in the right direction. Rather than overwhelm, the handbook will put the necessary steps of choosing a major into a relative, more manageable decision-making process. Within this handbook, I included a personal development section, where students will be able to understand how their interests, abilities and values can be translated into a program of study and ultimately, a career. The following steps include investigating the different options and evaluating those options based on the results of the personal development assessments. Upon the completion of this handbook, students will be able to narrow down their program of study choices and ultimately choose a major.