reply to post by starwarsisreal
I spent 5 years at a university to get 2 degrees after switching majors once; studied abroad; was a resident assistant; spent my last two years with
two part time campus jobs, a full course load (21 credit hours) and addition credits at a local community college; got a master's degree in 2 years
(normal) and have also taught for 2 and 1/2 years at the same university for my MA. I've navigated the ins and outs of university bureaucracy, so
take my advice if you feel like it, but I think it's pretty solid...
As far as the major goes, that depends on your tastes and preferences. What are you interested in?
Don't let anyone here tell you that you have to major in something "practical". That's BS. The problem with the alternative and liberal arts
majors (as opposed to the hard sciences) is that you could potentially fill any number of professions. The sciences are all very concrete, if you
think about it, they deal in quantitative figures and jobs are laid out accordingly. If you study biology or medicine, you are sure to find a job
because the jobs are very specifically laid out and well defined. Biologist. Doctor. Period. End of sentence.
As far as the social sciences and liberal arts, there is qualitative, abstract reasoning going on, so you do not have a "concrete" specific job
title laid out for you.
One thing tends to be lacking in the liberal arts and social sciences departments is effective guidance about WHAT to do with your degree. As you go
along thinking about a major, do yourself a favor and research the jobs that deal with that major or "could" deal with it.
Most schools make you declare a major when you go there, but you can change it whenever you want...just make sure of the following:
*Dates and deadlines (when do you have to turn in your paperwork to switch majors)
*Finish your mandatory classes first (get them out of the way). That's all the classes that everyone has to take...some sort of ethics or
sociological class; some sort of colloquium or symposium; history/world events/anthropology, etc.
*Some form of math will be a requirement, but rudimentary "high school level math" won't cut it. Check the proficiency requirements for the majors
you are thinking about and make sure to get to that level so you don't have to be held back later. Keep in mind that some non-science majors don't
require hard maths, you can take logic or statistics instead, but BEWARE, it doesn't work the other way for the sciences/maths/engineering (probably
business, but not sure)...they WILL NOT accept logic or stats usually.
*Take a placement for a foreign language and take your two semesters your freshman year. (Keep in mind that even if it ends up not being required, you
can get a minor in a foreign language after only 5 classes, and it looks good on a resume to have some accredited certification a language...my
recommendation: Mandarin. For two reasons:
1.) It's definitely a language few students study, so it will make you more competitive than all the schmucks taking two semesters of "hola, como
estas" Spanish that they just finished 3 semesters of in high school.
2.) Because it is a harder language (not as similar to english as Spanish is), a minor can be reached in just 5 or 6 classes from ZERO. That is to
say, when you get a Spanish minor, for example, it doesn't start counting the minor credits until fourth semester Spanish (202 or equivalent)
So, if you have no good background and start from Spanish 101, you'll have to take 102, 201 and they won't count for jack towards your minor.
Mandarin (and probably Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, or whatever other "exotic" language the school offers) on the other hand, will most likely have a fast
track to a minor that starts in the first or second semester.
*Take summer classes, if anything, at least once.
*Look for internships and on-campus jobs (not at the bookstore or in McDonalds). Jobs in specific departments, as a secretary in your departments
office. If anything, you will get to see and be in good standing with the power players - the associate professors (you WILL take classes with them if
it's your major's dept.), the department chairperson, the director of instructors, etc. In the classroom you will see professors one way, if you
work in the department, you learn that a college is no different from a regular office job - all the power playing, ass-kissing, drama, in-fighting,
*Be an RA at a dorm. For starters (relating to financial matters) you get free room and board, a stipend for food and better parking. You don't have
to be a saint if you're an RA, you just have to be a secret hypocrite about certain "normal" college behavior. Looks good on resumes, depending on
*Do extracurriculars outside of jobs...employers will look for that beyond the major.