For new students who attend our New Student Orientation program, Exploratory Advising starts with enrollment in a generalized set of courses that meet General Education requirements. That means you enroll in classes that will help you make progress in any major you choose at IU Kokomoand keep you from getting behind in your journey to graduating in four years.
For students who aren’t new to college (such as transfer students) or are enrolled in a semester of courses tailored to a major that they’re unsure about keeping, advisors are always happy to help you think about your options at any time. You can either schedule an appointment with your current advisor for your major or meet with one of our advisors for Exploratory students. Either way, advisors can help you take a look at the degree requirements for different programs, and make sure you understand what requirements you may already have satisfied with your current courses.
If you would like to receive Exploratory Advising, then, your first step is to get connected with the Office of Student Success and Advising! If you’re not already working with Exploratory Advising, set an appointment with us to get started.
Exploratory students are encouraged to work with Exploratory advisors, Academic Success Coaching, and the Career Services office to complete different self-quizzes assessing things like your strengths, interests, and possible major and career paths. This starts you down the road of actively exploring your options for programs of study and helps you to learn more about yourself. For example, Career Services offers a free, wide-ranging assessment called the Focus 2, and they provide career counseling to you after you complete it. These types of assessments can help students discover majors and careers they had never considered before.
Other activities that happen at this stage are resume drafting, participation in KEY activities like trips and events, getting involved in student life or campus organizations, completing job shadows, attending career fairs, and talking with coaches about what you want your future life to look like. Our campus even offers a course in professional and career development that can be taken as soon as your second semester, which provides even more opportunities to explore options in-depth. All of these help you to reflect on your past learning, and to think ahead to your ideal future – and helps you narrow down your major choices significantly. You don’t necessarily have to do all of these things to explore your options. However, you will probably find that the more you do, the more you’ll want to do; you’ll get excited learning about more and more options through these experiences.
You are free to explore, reflect, and explore again as much as you like. However, at some point, you need to decide what the best choice is for you.
How do you make that decision? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Do I understand my own strengths and values well? Do I have a vision of how I want my strengths to help me build a great career?
- Do I see at least two specific majors that look like they could be possibilities for me? Do I understand what classes those majors require? Am I excited about the learning I would get to do if I pursued one of those majors?
- Do I have a good sense of the pros and cons of each choice, given my sense of myself and my desired future?
- Have I ‘dipped my toe’ into those possible majors at all? That is, have I taken a class, or attended an event, or completed a job shadow, or done something else that lets me know what this choice would really be like for me?
Keep in mind that there is no “due date” to declare a major. You don’t have to figure it all out right away.
At the same time, though, students who wait a long, long time (over halfway through their sophomore year) before making any choice can find themselves in a situation where important early courses weren’t taken in a timely way. They also can get discouraged with college, maybe feeling like they’re not making any progress towards graduation.
Our recommendation is that you make some choice of major, or at least a choice of general area of study, by the end of your first year on campus. If you engage in the steps we’ve described here, you should find this possible to do – even if you came into college with no earthly clue about what you wanted to study!
When you are ready to make a choice, simply inform your academic advisor. He or she will make sure you’re all set up from there.