Undeclared, or undecided, students may feel unsure for a variety of reasons about choosing an academic major at Pitt-Johnstown.
Students often have interests in several areas but do not feel they have enough information about particular programs or careers to make a firm decision.
Students sometimes simply do not want to have to choose among programs at an early stage of their college careers, or they want to remain undeclared while keeping options open.
Other students are committed to completing a college education but are genuinely undecided about a specific field. Regardless of the reason, many students are wise to postpone declaring a major. The Academic Success Center can help.
- Approximately 20 percent of entering, first-year Pitt-Johnstown students enroll as undeclared
- Studies show that between 50 and 70 percent of college students change their major at least once, and nearly one in three will change multiple times
- Additional research indicates that 80 percent of college student are uncertain about a major, even if they have declared a major
When Should You Consider Becoming an Undeclared Student?
You are not alone. In many cases, students declare majors that turn out to be an inappropriate fit for their interests, values, skills, and personality. It is also true that many students change their interests and career goals once they’ve completed one to two semesters. If you find yourself unsure about your current major, consider becoming Undeclared until you are ready to make a decision. ASC staff works closely with Real World Career Services to help you with major and career exploration.
Your Status is Undeclared--but Choose to be Exploratory
Delaying the choice of a specialized course of study will allow you some flexibility to explore programs and disciplines. However, you should become active and engaged in this exploration process. Taking various courses to determine interest and aptitude for a discipline is a good place to start, but it is not enough. Pitt-Johnstown offers more than 40 different majors; yet, most incoming students can name only a small handful. Your advisor, as well as Real World Career Services staff, can help you explore majors and careers and choose classes that represent broader disciplines. Ideally, your eventual choice will match your talents, passions, and aspirations. While your academic advisor will help guide you, it is up to you to take charge of the exploration process. You are allowing yourself the time to make an informed decision, so be sure to take advantage of it. Be sure that you are moving forward. Most students should be moving into a major by the fall semester of the sophomore year.
How to declare your major
Before declaring your major, it is always a good idea to discuss your plans with your academic advisor. To declare a major, visit the appropriate division office. For example, if you want to declare pre-business, visit the Business and Enterprise Division office in 101 Biddle Hall. You will complete a Major Change Request form and you will be assigned a new academic advisor.
Expected student learning outcomes
Through the ASC Undeclared advising experience, you will:
- Understand degree progress and make appropriate course selections
- Navigate and use the PeopleSoft on-line registration system
- Demonstrate an understanding of the value of a liberal arts higher education
- Access the Academic Calendar and recognize important dates
- Utilize campus resources
- Demonstrate the ability to make appropriate decisions about educational and career plans
- Create and review a personalized advising action plan
- Demonstrate the ability to assess life and career values and goals
- My Undeclared Advisor
My Undeclared Advisor is an online system available via Campus Services for Undeclared students to schedule their advising appointments each semester, access personalized advising notes written by academic advisors, as well as manage “to-do” items such as important referrals to campus offices and recommended exploratory tasks.
As an undeclared student, exploration is the key to choosing a major that best fits your strengths and interests. Your academic advisor expects you to visit this site often, to work on these tasks, and to be prepared to discuss your progress at your next advising appointment.
Each semester, you must meet with your academic advisor to discuss class enrollment for the next term. If you need to schedule a follow-up appointment and/or have general questions, please schedule by visiting the front desk of the ASC.
To access My Undeclared Advisor:Log into Campus Services Click “Go” next to “Schedule your undeclared academic advising appointment; view personalized notes and tasks from your undeclared academic advisor”
Any follow-up appointments can be scheduled by contacting the ASC.
- Use My Undeclared Advisor each semester to schedule your advising appointment to discuss classes for next semester.
- Major & Career Exploration
When exploring major and career options, you should start by assessing your interests, personality, skills, and values. Only then will you be able to construct a list of majors that are appropriate for you and your goals.
The resources below can help you get started with this process. We encourage you to discuss your research and exploration with your academic advisor.
Getting Started: Explore MajorsBrowse Pitt-Johnstown’s Programs of Study/Majors. Click on each program link to read general information, career options, and course requirements. Take the Strong Interest Inventory or Myers-Briggs Inventory and discuss results with a career counselor in Real World Career Services. Go to a club meeting. Student organizations exist that are connected with nearly every major on campus. Meet with a Mentor for Academic & Personal Success (MAPS) in your major of interest.
Exploration Websites and Online ToolsMy Next Move O*Net Career Interest Game What Can I Do With This Major? My Majors Inside Jobs Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook Big Future Values Self-Assessment Values Card Sort Skills Profiler
- Explore some key courses in a major. Browse required textbooks, talk with students taking the course, look over the syllabus, and perhaps, sit in on a few class meetings.
- Meet with a faculty member in a department of interest.
- Attend events on campus. Every semester, guest lecturers and activities take place which focus on the various disciplines.
- Surf the web, investigating major and career choices through websites like My Next Move. See website resource list below.
- Job shadow and/or conduct an informational interview with a professional. There is no better way to understand a career than to learn about it first-hand. Contact Real World Career Services for assistance. And finally . . .
- Know thyself. That old adage is indeed a powerful one. Take some time to reflect on your interests, values, and goals. Also see exploration resources below.