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Exploration major not encouraged after spring of 2nd year

Spring Semester poses challenges for most students, whether it be where to go for spring break or what classes to schedule for next fall. But for some undecided students, spring brings a different deadline.
Academic advisers typically tell students to declare a major by the end of their second year.
Celia Wright, a second-year in health professions exploration, is one of those students facing the encroaching deadline to declare a major.
“I have to pick a major before Maymester (May Session),” Wright said. “And my adviser has been pretty good about reminding me of this deadline.”
For students that find themselves in Wright’s situation, the University Exploration program aims to help them choose a major.
“University Exploration is an academic unit, and the obvious thing that differentiates us is we’re a non-degree granting unit,” said Peter Spreitzer, exploration academic counselor. “When students apply to OSU, they are very welcome to come in as an undecided student, in which case they start with us.”
For Fall Semester, there were more than 1,300 students in the exploration program, said Linda Katunich, senior associate director of the Office of Enrollment Services Analysis and Reporting.
“Of those 1,339 students, 634 were new first-year students and 103 were transfer students,” Katunich said in an email.
There were 672 freshmen, 541 sophomores, 113 juniors and 13 seniors in the exploration program at OSU, with rank determined by credit hours, Katunich said.
Wright said the exploration program was one of the reasons she chose OSU.
“Comparable universities in Ohio, they had opportunities to come in undecided, but not like a program that’s supposed to help you,” Wright said.
The exploration program is designed to help all students, not just incoming freshmen, with finding the right major.
“We offer a variety of different services that we are always in the process of improving and adding to,” Spreitzer said.
The program offers its own survey class for first-year students, individual one-on-one, 30-minute appointments with an adviser, outreach events and workshops throughout the term on subjects like research, studying abroad and internships.
However, advising students in need is also dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
“The best thing would be to come in and talk to one of us and have a conversation about it,” Spreitzer said. “We have to start where a student is at. We can’t just be like, ‘Here’s a list of majors, you choose one or two to research.'”
Spreitzer also said advisers focus on getting to know the student by asking questions about themselves, their past experiences, their interests and any pressures they are feeling, so that they can better direct them to the right major.
Allie Mooney, a second-year in public affairs, came to OSU in the exploration program.
“I actually think that going in undecided was one of the best decisions I made freshman year,” Mooney said. “I feel like in the exploration program I got a much better sense about what was available at Ohio State.”
Mooney is an ambassador for the exploration program. She works on a team attempting to expand the program and helps students who are undecided by sitting on panels, making videos and working on various outreach events.
While the decision might be easy for some, Wright still has to make a choice this semester on what major to pick.
“I’m an indecisive person,” Wright said. “It makes me feel like I am lost and losing time, but my adviser has been doing a good job making sure I’m on track for whatever I do.”
The exploration program resources are open to all students.
“If you’re in your second year and you’re in a degree-granting unit, you might have a lot of trepidation about moving into exploration officially,” Spreitzer said. “But you can come talk to us without officially being in exploration, and that might be helpful.”

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