Tuesday, February 9, 2010

so many classes, so little time

Among countless others, one nice thing about UVa is that, here, students in the College of Arts and Sciences aren’t required to declare a major until the end of their second year. I’m sure the purpose of this is to allow for all of us students to take a wide array of different courses before committing ourselves to one path, but I’d like to think it’s also secretly, in part, due to the fact that the administration knows, and embraces, the fact that we’re all procrastinators at heart.  Regardless, however, this practice gives us the unique opportunity to really explore our interests, because, let’s face it, after college, when are you ever going to take a course about the history of the circus (which, believe it or not, is shockingly popular here)?  If there was any one piece of advice concerning academics that I wish someone had given me during my first year at the University, it would definitely have to be this: take the classes that you genuinely have an interest in, and worry about filling requirements (area or major) later; chances are you’ll end up inadvertently completing the latter while doing the former, anyway.  With UVa offering so many unique courses (Anglo-Saxon History, Age of Jefferson, Myth and Reality of Espionage… I could go on and on…), it would be a shame to limit the spectrum of subjects to choose from because of something like a major.  Admittedly, this is important, but not as important as most students are led to believe upon entering first year (besides, almost half of college students change their major at least once during the course of their college career).  So, when deciding on courses for fall 2010, which seems a lifetime away, but will probably be here before we can blink, keep your options open, and if necessary, use all of your available resources by not hesitating to email any one of us with questions!

Happy snow days!



  1. I'm always told that although I think I know what I want to major in, it will likely change by the time I actually have to declare a major. While I'm fairly set in my choice, I suppose I'm still not 100% sure. I know it's different for every student, but do most students find this decision difficult? Is there anything specific to UVa that makes this big decision easier?

  2. Alex: I can't speak for everyone, but for the most part, it's not a difficult decision, per se, but most people I know don't end up declaring the major they thought they would when they first got here. For example, one of my roommates started off pre-comm (that just means you take the 6 classes required to apply for the comm school) and is now a politics major; another one came in with psychology in mind, and is now doing spanish and environmental science. The decision isn't difficult, but maybe finding the right major might be.
    As far as whether or not UVa makes this easier... in my opinion, the fact that they don't make first years declare upon arrival is nice. That way, you don't feel like you have an obligation towards any set topic and you're able to explore more subjects (but then again, more choices makes it better, but not necessarily easier)...
    Hope this helps!