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University News

Montclair State Launches ‘University College’

New academic home guides student exploration of majors and career direction

Posted in: University

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Not every student enters college with a road map for the future. To guide students along the right path, Montclair State has launched University College, an innovative academic home for students where they can pursue the interests that will launch academic and career success.

Beginning in fall 2018, students who are not certain about their choice of major will be eligible for admission to University College, where they can tap into the support, guidance and programs they need to explore and discover the areas that interest them most.

Nationwide, undergraduate students are taking longer to commit to a major and earn their degrees, with the U.S. Department of Education reporting that about 30 percent of undergraduates switch majors at least once and more than half take up to six years to graduate. By utilizing University College’s many guided exploration opportunities, students will be less likely to switch majors – and more likely to graduate within four years.

“The new University College will be a welcoming and supportive new home where students can begin their university studies surrounded by peers and supported by a team of advisors and counselors dedicated to acclimating them to University life and to helping them find the major most appropriate to their talents and career interests,” says Montclair State Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Willard Gingerich.

In fall 2018, University College will admit about one third – or 1,000 – incoming freshman, as well as approximately 1,400 returning and transfer students who have yet to declare a major. Once University College students have been admitted to their chosen majors, they will move seamlessly on to the college or school of that major, well prepared to succeed in their progress to completing a degree.

Finding the Right Fit
“Instead of having students hop from major to major, we want to help them find the best choice the first time,” says Student Development and Campus Life’s Associate Vice President for Student Academic Services Allyson Straker-Banks. “That’s why we’re bringing students the information and tools they need to discover and connect with a career quickly and efficiently.”

According to Straker-Banks, University College students will have numerous opportunities to learn about a variety of career paths and academic disciplines by talking to – and being advised by – faculty, experts in the field and career services professionals.

Supportive Programs Promote Academic and Career Discovery
Choosing among Montclair State’s 300 majors, minors and concentrations can seem overwhelming to students. Innovative discovery programs, guided academic experiences, close attention to appropriate course enrollments, a wide range of special activities designed specifically for University College students, and a welcoming community of fellow University College students will help students navigate their early years in the University. All University College students will be able to focus and fine-tune their exploration and select the academic track that matches their individual aspirations.

“University College represents a vibrant new opportunity for Montclair State students,” said President Susan A. Cole. “It means that the many students who had to wait for a year or two before becoming part of one of the University’s colleges or schools will no longer have to do so. The creation of University College means that every undergraduate student in the University will have a college home and a community of fellow students with whom to share that college home.”