Encourage students to explore options

We are writing in response to the recent editorial âÄúAdvice for advisers.âÄù The central message of the editorial was that incoming students should avoid taking a broad range of exploratory classes and should instead decide on a major during their freshman year and stick with it. We acknowledge that it is essential for students to graduate within four years and that doing so will help students to reduce their debt burden. However, research indicates that students who carefully explore and plan their options, which often includes taking exploratory courses, are more likely to stay in school, graduate on time and achieve better grades. Students who choose their majors earlier without exploration or structured planning may be at a disadvantage in the long term by feeling âÄústuckâÄù in a major they do not have the desire or ability to complete. The University of Minnesota has recognized that we need to do a better job serving students who are struggling with career/major decisions. In fact, the University has established a pilot program to address these concerns. We are excited to be a part of the new Center for Academic Planning and Exploration, which will help undecided students from across the University to engage in more structured exploration and planning regarding their majors and careers. Our office is currently in 233 Appleby Hall, and we will start working with students in early November. Mera Kachgal, Ph.D. Chirayu Dongre, M.A. University staff