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Only in Montclair: Program Helps Students Choose a Major

Montclair State University students discover majors with University College’s expert advisors and ‘Major Madness’

Posted in: Homepage News, Uncategorized, University

Two students smile and listen to someone speaking.
Arianna Dasilva, left, a junior Social Media and Public Relations major, and Kangela Guerrero, a senior majoring in Psychology, learn more from Student Success Coordinator Mélissa Vélez about the Department of Psychology’s new minor in Neuroscience.

Choosing a major is among the most important decisions a college student will make, and to help with this “major decision,” Montclair State University supports undergraduates with dedicated academic advisors who provide expert guidance as students explore majors aligned with their interests and career goals.

With nearly 4,000 success stories in six years, University College – the first and still the only program in New Jersey for undecided students – provides an academic home for undergraduates as they explore their options and make sure that the major they’re selecting is the right fit.

Montclair students, including freshmen and transfer students who have not yet selected a major, get practical advice as they explore different majors and prepare academically to enter the major of their choice. University College Academic Advisor Johayra Granados-Roldán recommends that students not limit themselves to what they already know. “Think about your passion areas and career goals, and how different majors align with them.”

An Academic Programming Team provides a wide variety of resources and events to help students learn more about majors, and provides opportunities for them to network with peers and faculty in those majors. University College collaborates with Career Services so that students can explore potential careers within majors, and opportunities for internship and volunteer opportunities.

“I tell students, don’t be afraid to explore your options, but be clever about exploring strategically,” says University College Academic Advisor Lindsey Hresko.Your advisor can help you find ways to take classes that might count toward General Education requirements, while still giving you opportunities to join classes that give you a chance to learn about your options. There are lots of ways you can ‘work smarter, not harder’ when it comes to determining your major.”

University College’s popular “crash a class” provides a sneak peek at more than 65 different course options across campus. The I Do Declare! Podcast offers an inside look at some of the different majors and opportunities across campus.

A student and professor stand in front of a justice studies banner.
At Major Madness, Julia Vargo, right, a member of Student Communications’ Hawk Squad, interviews Justice Studies Chair Christopher Salvatore about the opportunities for students in  law, justice systems and international justice.

Every March, college basketball’s March Madness inspires Montclair’s “Major Madness,” a special sports-themed event to showcase Montclair’s 300 different majors, minors, concentrations and certificate programs.

On March 26, University College once again took over the gymnasium in the Student Recreation Center for this special event. University College staff dressed as basketball referees cheered students as they gathered information from faculty and staff, with many students narrowing their choices. The event is a catalyst for students to decide upon or declare a major, with 60-75% of University College major declarations each academic year occurring in the spring semester.


The Major Madness program.
Students received an event guidebook, mapping out the floor plan of the event’s academic offerings, as well as important information about upcoming dates and events like fall 2024 registration, future University College programs and how to keep the exploration conversations going by scheduling appointments with their advisors on Navigate.
Four students listen to information about majors.
Students, from left, Aleesha Ortiz (junior, Psychology), Jayla Trice (junior, Social Media and Public Relations), Brianna Tunis (sophomore, Educational Foundations for Elementary Teachers) and Leah Barna (sophomore, Linguistics) learn more about the College of the Arts.
Two women speak to a student.
Debora Cubias, left, academic advisor in the Feliciano School of Business, and Christina Eid, a graduate assistant, share information about academic options that can supplement a degree program with Wiktoria Kwasniak. Kwasniak is a former University College student who ultimately declared a major in Educational Foundations for Elementary Teachers. 
Rocky the Red Hawk mascot plays cornhole with students.
University Fellow Bryanna Smedley playing corn hole with Rocky the Red Hawk at the Major Madness event. 
Advisors pose with basketballs at Major Madness.
Taking a page from the playbook of March Madness, Montclair staff get into the spirit for Major Madness, from left, Hannah Terhune, program assistant for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Natalie López, academic program coordinator for University College; Evelyn De Jesus-Quiles, director of operations and administrative affairs for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Tabitha Riley, academic program coordinator for University College.

Story by Staff Writer Marilyn Joyce Lehren. Photos by John J. LaRosa.

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