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GPS offers resources for students with undeclared majors

For some students, deciding on whether to pursue the music industry, become a nurse or get a degree in accounting can be problematic.

Over the past four years, 556 students have come into Belmont without a declared major. Currently, 66 students are grappling with the decision of which major to pursue.

Belmont provides undecided students with resources to help point them in the right direction, especially through the office of Growth and Purpose for Students.

“First, it’s about finding out who you are,” said Director of GPS David Sneed. “We’ve all been told a story about who we are.”

To help students discover who they are, GPS has a variety of assessments available, like the StrengthsFinder test, which helps identify what type of work fuels different people, said Sneed.

“It’s based in positive psychology and helps us understand our natural talents. For many people, not all, it rings true when they see the assessment,” said Sneed.

Freshman undeclared student Alex West identified the career assessment Focus 2 as the most helpful service GPS provided. The Focus 2 assessment suggests five different career options that it deems most compatible with your interests.

“A teacher and a counselor have always been ideas in the back of my mind. Then, I took this test, and those were the first two options for me,” said West.

If the Focus 2 test still leaves questions, the Office of Career and Professional Development has additional assessments like the Strong Interest Inventory test and the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator, Sneed said.

Beyond meeting with GPS, meeting with professors and deans of prospective majors to discuss what classes are in the curriculum can be helpful, said freshman Emma Johansson.

“That’s been very helpful, to get to sit down and have them give you the rundown,” said Johansson. “If you don’t like the classes you have, chances are you are not going to love that major.”

When it comes to choosing courses while exploring potential majors, Sneed recommends researching course curriculums over taking exploratory classes.

“We want people to be moving forward all the time,” said Sneed. “We don’t want people to burn all their free electives on exploring.”

Johansson expressed her desire to be able to shadow classes she is interested in — a service that hasn’t been offered for undeclared students.

“It could be a semester before you are looking to take that class. Being able to shadow someone in that major? That would be super, super helpful,” said Johansson.

This service could be entirely possible to implement at the department level, said Provost Dr. Thomas Burns.

“The best thing an undeclared student can do is talk to as many people as possible,” said Burns.

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This article written by Kendall Crawford.

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