At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the college that has the most enrolled first-time freshmen is not the College of Engineering or Education and Human Sciences—it’s the Explore Center, according to the Office of Institutional Research, Analytics and Decision Support.
The Explore Center advisers help students explore a variety of different majors through course planning and workshops throughout the year. Joey Lynch, the coordinator of exploratory advising and retention initiatives at the Explore Center, said the workshops help students discover their interests, skills and values while connecting them with possible majors and careers.
“Being an undeclared student at UNL is a great opportunity because you are able to take advantage of the tremendous variety of majors that UNL has to offer,” Lynch said.
If students are not sure what they want to major in, Lynch said he advises them to take advantage of new opportunities and experiences as they arise. He said they will likely find something that points them toward a major that is right for them.
“Your time in college is a great chance to explore your interests and discover the possible paths they may take you down,” Lynch said.
Junior sociology major Hannah Dickson said she came into college with no idea what to major in. She went to the Explore Center her second semester as a freshman because it was required as an undeclared major. Dickson said the center got her in touch with advisers of other departments to help her explore different majors.
“The only strategy I had for figuring out my major was to take a lot of different classes,” Dickson said. “I have taken classes from religion to leadership to political science and many other diverse classes. I essentially just planned on doing this until I found a subject that I loved.”
Some students may be worried that finding a major to declare may take too long and they will not be able to get their credits. However, Lynch said some students take multiple semesters to declare majors.
“The good news is that most majors allow for a lot of flexibility with electives and other requirements so a student can explore a variety of subjects while taking classes that will eventually fulfill their future degree requirements,” he said.
Dickson decided on a major in sociology her fourth semester because of an introductory sociology course she was interested in. She said she has enjoyed her major and plans on adding another major and a minor.
“My biggest piece of advice for undeclared freshmen is not to rush,” Dickson said. “A lot of students feel pressured to declare a major quickly, but I think that it is more important to take the time to explore options.”
Lynch said he enjoys working at the Explore Center because he gets to talk to a variety of students with different interests. He also said the Explore Center is a fun and energetic group who love to work with students.
“Students should feel welcome to stop by the Explore Center if they want some help developing a plan to explore majors or just have a question about campus,” Lynch said. “[We] are excited to work with next year’s freshman class.”