Peer Adviser Post: Declaring a Major (part 3)
By Amanda Suárez CC'14
Reflecting back on my sophomore spring and major declaration process, I remember my trepidation and worries about how exactly I was going to go about making such a huge decision that I thought would completely frame my academic future. After taking a few introductory courses, I thought that I was fairly settled upon majoring in Political Science with my major and minor subfields of International Politics and American Politics, respectively, due to my interest in international affairs and diplomacy. I also thought I might perhaps pursue a concentration in Hispanic Studies since I had made progress on the required advanced Spanish classes and wanted to keep up my language proficiency.
However, after talking with my advising dean about my uncertainties, she urged me to take the time to reach out to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of both departments before declaring a major. Although I told her that I had stopped by their tables at the Academic Fair earlier on in the year, she impressed on me the importance of making an appointment to meet with each DUS individually so that I could get a better feel from them about the atmosphere of the department and what sort of experience I would have majoring in those fields.
I went ahead and after finding their emails on the departmental web sites and carefully hitting the right tone in drafting my emails, I organized time to take trips up to the 7th floor of IAB and to the Casa Hispánica in February. These visits were extremely important in my major declaration decision, and I would strongly encourage sophomore prospective majors to do the same! By speaking with a DUS, you are able to hear firsthand about key aspects of the major like advising support, career and research opportunities, and the various requirements (which also helped me realize the small credit difference between a Hispanic Studies major and concentration and how far I had already come in completing the required courses). This really helped clarify my decision to double major in Political Science and Hispanic Studies, for I realized that I would be able to merge my interests by combining the vast resources offered by the Political Science department while enjoying the more tight-knit community experience that I craved at the Casa Hispánica. I would encourage all sophomores to schedule a quick chat with a DUS before the March major declaration deadline so that you can really have the opportunity to be certain of whether or not that one department catching your eye will be the perfect “fit” and a welcoming new academic home for your next 2 years!
**CC Major Declaration is: Mon-Thurs, March 10-13