Hi, I'm Kerry Bush, the interim dean of University College. As a three time graduate of Ohio University, I know firsthand the opportunities that await you here. Nearly 20% of first year students come to Ohio without declaring a major and 1/3 of college students change their majors at least once during their college career. You may not know what you want to study in college, and that's okay. As a student entering college, undecided or undeclared, you'll have the freedom and flexibility to explore your options before choosing your major. College is a journey and University College is ready to help you with the path that's right for you. Whether that's a major in another Ohio University, college, or unique degree like our Bachelor of specialized studies. University colleges supportive environment gives you the structure and resources you need, while our professional academic advisors assist you in mapping out and navigating a successful first year in the path to graduation. As an undecided or undeclared student in University College, will build connections, discover opportunities, and explore Ohio University through your learning community. The Fall majors fair and more. You'll take classes that help you meet your general education requirements while investigating subjects that interest you. Whether you're entering as an undecided student needing to explore and find the right major at Ohio, or an undeclared student who knows what major you'd like to pursue but needs to first satisfy admission requirements. You'll find the support and structure you need in University College. The connections you build and experiences you learn from in your first year at Ohio will be part of you forever. Though you may not finish your degree in University College, we will actively support you as you find your academic home at Ohio, with a focus on preparing you to declare a major by the end of your first year. We know you have big decisions to make. I hope you will decide as I did that Ohio is the right place for you.
Hi, I'm Jen Murphy, Assistant Vice Provost for the Ohio guarantee plus graduation programs. Joining me today is Christy Nall, Assistant Director of advising and Student Services at University College. Hi, Christy. Thanks for being here.
Thank you for having me.
As interim dean bush just mentioned, it's common for students to come to college without a major declared having the freedom to explore different academic options is exciting, liberating, maybe. But it's also overwhelming. So Christy, how does University College helps students explore their academic options and choose the right path
for them? First, we don't want them to worry about being undecided. So no pressure, they're going to work with their academic advisor probably through a series of interactions across a semester or more to make an informed decision. And you know, sometimes we'll even work backwards, we'll have the students select a minor or a certificate first. Because that's an easy decision to make, it's decisive, and they have a path to follow. It's something that they're interested in. And then they can still explore all of the major options. One of the other things that we will do with our students is the learning communities, right? And their learning community really provides us an opportunity to kickstart that major exploration process. So all of the activities, it could be a themed learning community related to business or engineering, course assignments, peer to peer interactions, all of those opportunities allow us to really kickstart the major exploration process.
So you mentioned learning communities, which are an important part of the first year experience for our students. The great thing about learning communities is that all students have access to them whether they're undecided or not. Tell me more about what those learning communities look like those co curricular experiences that they have inside and outside the classroom,
the CO curricular and academic experiences outside of the classroom, the community engagement pieces all are a vital part of what we do and helping the student to select a major. And it's about the obvious formal interactions, new experiences personal reflection, part of the community engagement and the CO curricular piece. But a lot of times it's about the informal and the subtle interactions that they have with their faculty, their staff in their peers, where conversation often turns to classes that they're exploring. They're taking in there loving faculty that they're interacting with, and majors that they hadn't heard about. So those community engagement and those extracurricular pieces are really vital when they sit down with their academic advisor to unpack those and discuss majors. Yeah, that
makes a lot of sense.
So what are some of the resources available for the students who are undecided? Where do they start?
So you've heard me mentioned academic advising and our students will work with the advisors in the University College advising and Student Services Office, as well as our partners in the Allen Student Advising Center, and to explore any question that they have or help them with anything that they need throughout that first academic year in their time with us in University College. Another resource that we have is our annual majors fair in this year, we get to celebrate our 20th anniversary of that event. So we're really excited that we get to offer that experience again this year to a new class of students. majors fair typically occurs in the sixth week of fall semester, here in the ballroom normally, but our goal is to get all of our academic programs in one space at one time for our students to explore all of their options. Now, COVID protocols are probably going to change the way that we deliver that. But our goal is still the same. And that is to have our students in one place with our academic programs so they can make those connections. Another resource that we have is our career and Leadership Development Center. And our folks in the cldc are great partners, in that students can go in and meet with a career coach, they can attend an internship fair, they can explore building leadership skills. So it's a slightly different conversation about careers as opposed to majors. But it certainly is another opportunity for our students to explore those processes. All of those resources advising the major sphere in the cldc. Resources manifest themselves in a little different way. But our goal is all the same to align their interests with their career goals.
You know, that sounds really nice, I can tell that University College is well prepared to help students figure out where to go what their majors should be, I only wish I had had that in my college experience. So when is it the right time? When do they declare major? And how do they do that some
students can declare their major as early as their first semester and as easily as just submitting a form. Other students, if they're interested in a program, that is a selective admission program, may take longer, they may need to get courses completed meet a minimum GPA requirement, they may need to cultivate faculty recommendations. So they're going to work with their academic advisor to complete that selective admission process. So some students, it's early, some students may take a little bit longer.
Well, that makes a lot of sense. So one of the things I know as students go through their journey they want to know when they take their classes and how they take their classes that I know the parents listening in, probably want them in and out as soon as possible. How long have they stay on track? We often hear on time on plan. How do you keep the students on track?
Well, first, we're going to help them to understand their general education requirements and their degree audit, and we're going to help them pick their classes. So again, no pressure. The trick to keeping them on time is 15 credit hours a semester, so their advisor will recommend that they carry 15 credit hours a semester every semester, and 15 credit hours across eight semesters will allow them to finish on time. Some students worry that coming in undecided, there's no way that they can finish on time. Well, if we know that a bachelor's degree consists of 120, semester hours, 60 hours of that 120 is typically tied to a major, our general education program is 38 credit hours, that's going to leave us with about 22 hours of cushion. And so as an advisor, we're going to help that student to stay on plan, but also to make the most of their time with us. By selecting skill building electives, exploratory electives in courses they are in programs, they may be interested in study abroad opportunities, experiential learning opportunities, wellness electives, so we're going to use all of those kinds of opportunities to help a student stay on plan because they have some of that cushion, or I should say on time, because they have that cushion on plan. Look, if they change their mind, it's okay, we're gonna pivot, we're gonna design a new plan and they can still finish on time.
Yeah, I can clearly see that there's a structure in place to really navigate that students through our our institution, which is really nice to hear, you know, how much does the student take ownership of that? What's their part in this process and the exploration parts? What can they expect from faculty as well? Are they a part of the exploration phases that they go through?
We're going to expect our first year students, we really want them to invest in their first year, like a senior would invest in their last year. We want them to engage in every interaction that they can ever every opportunity that they can really reflect on their experiences and share those experiences with the people around them, whether it's their faculty or their staff or their advisors, we want students to engage as much as they can, because that builds a foundation. There's a reason why our general education program is called bricks, right? So we want them to build that foundation to help them with the rest of their academic career at Ohio. And they should expect their faculty and their staff to be invested in their success.
So you did mention faculty, for those undecided students? How do they even begin that process? Who do they connect with? Since they don't technically have a major yet? Would you recommend a specific type of faculty member that they go to? How do they find the faculty members to really mentor them through this process,
students can connect with them virtually at first if they want, so they can connect through their Blackboard, if that eases that first connection with them, faculty have their office hours. And you know, you can just say hi to a professor walking across campus. So those interactions, we're going to encourage that the student take advantage of any opportunity that they're given throughout their time with us, and especially in their first year. Some of those interactions are done through the learning communities. And sometimes their academic advisor is also their learning community instructor. So we have those experiences built in for them. The students in University College are going to take classes from all over the university. And so they're really going to have exposure to all of our wonderful faculty on campus.
So you know, Christy, there are over 250 academic programs here at Ohio University, which is exciting, but also overwhelming. What are some of the most common majors that most students in University College declare
our students in University College are going to express interest in the high profile programs, like journalism and business and engineering or nursing, but our students really express interest in programs from across the university. So it is kind of interesting that University College is a service college, but we're also an academic college. And students can start a start undecided in University College but also finish a degree in the University College. We are home to real estate and military science programs. We're home to the Associate in Arts Associate in Science associate and individualized studies. We're home to law enforcement technology and criminal justice degrees are technical and Applied Studies and our Bachelor of specialized studies programs. So our Bachelor of specialized studies program is really unique in that the student gets to design their own degree. And so we have a lot of interest from students who say, I want I have this educational niche. Can I do this? And we say yes, you can design your own degree and we get to help them see that vision come to life. So a student can start as undecided and finish with a degree in the University College.
I know many students are still trying to decide where to go and what to do coming up. So what should the admitted students be doing at this point,
if students have decided that they want to be a bobcat, we encourage that they confirm that commitment. by submitting their housing deposit, they can see their list of next firstname.lastname@example.org slash admissions and if they want to come for a visit, or if they want to talk to an admissions advisor, they can do that by reaching out to the folks in the admissions office.
That makes a lot of sense. Thanks so much for being here today. Christy. I really appreciate hearing about the journey of a University College student as they go through their time with us. Now we're going to hear from one of our own University College students who started off as undecided but definitely is in her program of choice now. Thanks for joining us, Meg.
Hi, my name is Meg Tobin. I'm a current senior here at Ohio University from Cincinnati, Ohio. I entered into a high University as an undecided student in University College. And since then, I've declared a major in communications and a minor in marketing and psychology. So I decided to come to Ohio University, among many other things, because I love the size of the university. I knew that it was going to be a big enough campus and university that it would offer me the resources and networks and connections that I wanted and needed, and it was a place I was going to be able to succeed. But it also had that small college town campus feel that as soon as I stepped on campus, I knew it was going to be my home away from home, which sounds so cliche, but it's the truest statement. graduating high school and coming to a high university I had a general idea of like skills and abilities that I had, and some areas that I was interested in, but I was nowhere near close to me. Knowing what I wanted to study for the next four years, and even more, so what I wanted to do my future career entering into you, as a undecided student in University College was truly the best decision that I could have made for myself personally. Going into orientation as an undecided student, I was able to pick a learning community with a cluster of classes that was focused in Visual Communications and Public Relations kind of a realm, because I knew that's something that I was interested in. But I wasn't sure that was my 100%. This is what I want to do the rest of my life. A nice thing about those classes within that learning community cluster was that it also fulfilled tier two requirements. So tier two requirements are our general education requirements that we have at Ohio University. They have classes that every student has to take, regardless of their major. So if I took those classes and decided that wasn't the major for me, it wasn't a waste of time, or money or credits, because you were fulfilling those credits in courses that you needed to do anyways, throughout your four years at OSU. Another thing that I was really fortunate to have is that my learning community professor was also my academic advisor, within University College. So through those weekly seminar courses, as well as meeting with him outside of class every week, I was able to explore the nine colleges that Ohio University offers, as well as the many, many majors within those colleges. So by the time that I chose communications, as my major and later marketing and psychology as my minor, I was 100% certain that those were the majors and minors for me. During my college career at Ohio University, I got involved within the Learning Community Programs, because I enjoyed my learning community so much. So I was able to mentor students within those learning community seminars, and help them with their classes. And that was really a meaningful experience for me, because being that learning community leader then led me to apply as an orientation leader, which then brought me back to my orientation experience that I had with the University College and how meaningful that was to me. And then fast forward even further, I decided to go to grad school for higher education and student affairs. So for me, it really came full circle. And I really have University College to thank for that, because they were the people that showed me that perspective that students have that they're exploring different majors are kind of tentative and uncertain in the college experience, and that's what I want to do for the rest of my life. I would tell students that are entering undecided or into University College, that it isn't a bad idea. Don't be embarrassed, don't be scared to not know what you want to do. You're just coming out of high school. There are so many different resources and especially things that Ohio University University College offers that will allow you to truly truly know what you want to do before taking that leap and saying, This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. So I can say that choosing communications as my major was the best decision I ever made. And I couldn't be more happy with entering as a University College student.