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Peer Adviser Post: SEAS Sophomore Major Declaration: Aahhhh, Which One Do I Choose?

SEAS Sophomore Major Declaration: Aahhhh, Which One Do I Choose?
By Benjamin Frieling SEAS ‘14



So you’re receiving these e-mails from the CSA, CCE, ESC, and more that not too far from now is the major declaration date of SEAS sophomore, in which your destiny as an engineer is decided.

Well, maybe that’s a bit too much – you can change your major afterwards but it becomes more difficult unless you take all required courses of every prospective major you’re curious about. While this is a critical decision, the Peer Advisers are here to help you out:

A Five-Year Step Plan to Success in Declaring

 1.  The Engineering Bulletin is your new best friend. Look at the courses required and electives offered in each major. If the description to several classes sounds interesting, go to the department website and look around. If you cring at the thought of taking “insert difficult sub-section of engineering here”, it’s probably better to pass on that major.
 
2.  Open Houses, professors’ open doors, CCE is open for walk-ins Mon-Fri 1-5 PM.
    a. Every department will be hosting an Open House, in which professors will be on-hand describing the major’s curriculum and should also answer related questions
        i. Check the CSA blog for department-specific dates
    b.
If you cannot make your desired department’s time (or even if you did), drop by professors’ offices and chat with them. An open door usually means he/she is available and willing to chat with students – this includes you ! Ask about what careers are open to a “insert department here” major.
    c.  CCE has hundreds of companies in their databases & can tell you which firms are in which fields. Drop by or set up an appointment, whether you want to know what companies will hire your major or whether you just want a general overview of engineering firms by field.

3.  Ask a room/suite/floor-mate if he/she knows anyone in a department you’re interested in. Then, go and “interview” them about their courses and internships and career dreams. If needed, bribe them with coffee or other hot drink of his/her liking to sit down and talk for fifteen minutes.

4. 
The Internet has so many resources available to offer. One database I prefer is the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook { http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/home.htm }. It contains detailed information of what opportunities each specific field of engineering offers in addition to employment trends. Another option is to Google “NYC ‘insert major here’ engineering firm” and then look at some local companies’ website. Lastly, if still unsure about your major – try the Collegeboard’s MyRoad. It has career & personality aptitude tests that can provide some insight of industries or majors that may fit you.

GOOD LUCK !!


If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at: csapeeradvising@columbia.edu



Stressed about classes? Confused about internship-hunting? Just need someone to talk to?

Ask the CSA Peer Advisers!
 
Monday- Wednesday: 5-8pm in 403 Lerner
Thursday: 1-4pm on Lerner Ramps (NEW TIME & LOCATION)

See you then!

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