Office of Undergraduate Studies Sponsors Annual Majors and Minors Fair

Owen Hewitt

The Office for Undergraduate Studies sponsored a majors fair for undergraduate College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students on the Riley Ellipse this Thursday, Sept. 30.

The fair offered an opportunity for students to interact with professors and upperclassmen students in a variety of fields. A total of 31 majors were represented at the fair, ranging from cognitive and behavioral neuroscience to economics. An additional 19 minors and concentrations not offered as majors were also present, including studio art, creative writing and cybersecurity. 

Freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences were given a folder with four pieces of paper in it. One was simply a list of the majors, minors and concentrations available within the college, and one was a smaller piece from the Office for Undergraduate Students reminding students to consult the academic handbook to view requirement lists for various majors. Another was a handout containing a list of questions that were suggested starting points for students. 

The most important paper in the file for College of Liberal Arts and Sciences freshman was a worksheet that had to be stamped at three different tables from around the fair. This form was assigned to be completed in each advising course across the College’s first-year advising program. Students needed a stamp from a major the student was interested in pursuing, another from a minor or concentration that the student was interested in pursuing and lastly from a major that they had never previously considered. Accompanying the spaces for stamps were three questions corresponding to the category each stamp fell into. 

Freshman Anna Hennessey said that she thought the handout was beneficial to the overall experience. 

“I thought it was helpful,” Hennessey said. “I liked the entire folder they gave us full of the information packets.”

Many of the upperclassmen working at tables either volunteered or were contacted by professors within their departments. Senior Ryan Weicht, who was at the Communication program’s table, said that the Department sourced people from the peer mentoring program to connect with underclassmen at the fair. 

“I am a peer advisor for the Communication Department, which is actually a newly started program, we’re super excited to get started with it, and [to] get some new people,” Weicht said. “As well as helping out younger students, we help out with general communication department things, and so they asked us to come and volunteer at the majors fair.” 

The fair is very important to the different departments that it consists of, especially those that are typically smaller areas of study. Chair of the Philosophy Department John Carvalho said that the majors fair allows his department to inform a wide range of students about what it means to major or minor in philosophy.

“I get to talk to people who are just curious about philosophy,” Carvalho said. “Most people haven’t taken it in high school, so their first exposure is when they get here. I can give them a broader picture of what’s involved in it. Whether we get a lot of majors out of this – that would be a great thing, a lot of people talk to me about minoring in philosophy – but it’s a way to begin to expand the franchise a little bit, and to be able to introduce a broader group of people to what we do.”

That was the major theme of the day, as students were able to gain knowledge of their options within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and examine different possibilities for their paths forward. The fair wrapped up around 4:15 p.m., although representatives from some departments stayed around their tables later to chat with students past the prescribed end time.