Discovery Program Helps Students Choose Majors

Broad academic and career areas let students discover the best fit

Recognizing that not every student applying to college is ready to select a major, Montclair State has developed a new Discovery Program to help undeclared students explore their options.

"We are the first institution to offer a program like this in New Jersey," says Center for Advising and Student Transitions Executive Director Michele Campagna. "I’m excited that we have created a more intentional approach to working with undeclared students, a group which will likely comprise about a third of entering first-year students and roughly 300 incoming transfer students."

When applying for fall 2017, students can express their interest in the Discovery Program by selecting one of seven tracks that reflect their general academic and career interests on their online applications: Education, Service & Society; Management & Industry; Health, Wellness & Medicine; Arts, Culture & Design; Technology & Innovation; Sciences & The Environment; and Undecided. These tracks have been configured to represent many of the majors offered by the University.

"By collecting more information about their broadest interests earlier on, we will be able to guide students toward a major in a way that does not add time to the attainment of a degree," says Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Indiveri-Gant. "It's a model that's sensitive to students' and parents' focus on their return on investment."

Beginning in fall 2017, incoming undeclared students will be placed in learning communities based on their selected Discovery track. Each learning community will offer linked courses, including a New Student Seminar, a learning communities course specifically designed to help students with their major exploration. Program courses, together with personalized advising and career exploration will provide opportunities throughout their exploration process for students to identify majors that match their talents, academic interests and career aspirations – and that put them on the path to graduation. "The Discovery Program’s innovative design aims to help students select majors that best match their interests, values and skills, and will also serve to boost student success rates at the University," says Campagna.

"At Montclair State, we look at the whole student and work with each student to bring out their best," says Indiveri-Gant. "This program embodies that approach by bringing together resources from Academic Affairs and Student Academic Services."