Finding a Fit: Declaring a Major

One of the hardest decisions a student has to make during their college career can be choosing a major. Some people go into college knowing exactly what they want to do, and others, like senior Allison Rosadino, came to the University of Rhode Island undeclared.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Rosadino said. “I thought maybe the field of education or public relations. Eventually, I went with my gut and chose education.”

After spending some time exploring education, Rosadino made a switch to public relations.

Jake Clemen, an academic advisor in the University College at URI, said he gives advice to students with similar situations to Rosadino’s. Clemen aids students when weighing their options but leaves the final decision of choosing a major up to them.

“I’m an advisor so I’ll give you advice but you’re the decider, it’s your life path moving forward, it’s your call on what exact direction you want to take,” Clemen said.

Clemen works with freshmen and sophomores who are searching to find their fit in a major. Advisors, like Clemen, understand it is difficult to decide a major because it is a decision that will affect a long life in the work force. Rosadino implemented that freshman choosing a major should not worry too much and while it may seem scary at first, there is always room to make a change.

“I had to drive to URI one day in the summer before my sophomore year and meet with my advisor where he helped me choose the right public relations courses,” Rosadino said. “In the end it was good but at first it was stressful because I wanted to graduate on time and it was because of the advisors help that I am on track to graduate in May, on time.”

As a past certified administrator for the Myers & Briggs type indicator, a widely used personality test, Clemon is able to ask students questions and get a sense of who they are and then suggest majors that fit who they are. The Myers & Briggs personality types and 16Personalities test results can inform students on a deeper level about who they are and what career options would be best. Clemen uses questions from both of those tests while advising students and thinks it really gives him a good idea of who they are, which aided Rosadino in finding her true passion.

“I would visit my advisors monthly and just ask them questions,” said Rosadino. “I would get advice on where I should be and where they think I should be.”

Besides taking an online personality test, the URI website offers tools such as finding a best-fit major road map and an interest clusters tab that lists different fields of study and what majors are offered in those areas.

Unrelated to URI but helpful when choosing a major is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. The website contains facts such as the kind of jobs available within majors, where the most jobs are, and the increase or decrease in the amount of jobs in that field. Clemen also mentioned that it is what students notice in their free time that can lead them to their major decision.

“I would suggest students to think about where does your mind go when you have free time,” Clemen said. “Think about when you’re walking from point A to point B on campus and what occupies your mind.”

The average major at URI has 30-45 major requirements, most minors on campus require 18 credits, 40 credits in general education, and several elective courses. Elective courses are any course taken that is approved by URI that can count toward the number of credits needed to graduate. In order to graduate, students must complete 120 credits total. Clemen can be found in Roosevelt Hall Room 113 and offers walk in advising hours.