Thursday, March 3, 2011

Majors and Admissions

An academic advisor has made a request that I write a post about majors, and I think it is a great idea! I have dealt with the issue of academic majors before and how they relate to admissions in comments, but having a more detailed post seems like the best next step.

Freshman Applicants
When you apply to UGA, what you select as a major is a non- issue during the admission process. Occasionally when we are reading a file, we will see that X applicant has done a great deal of outside work towards the major of their choice (I remember the Entomology applicant who traveled to several different countries doing insect research and collection). So, for almost every applicant, your choice of major has no impact on a decision. Why? Well first, any freshman applicant can go into their myStatus page, select the Settings option, and change their intended major. Second, a large number of freshman will change their major prior to enrolling at UGA, and then again sometime during their first two years at UGA. So when you apply to UGA, select a major that interests you (or select Undecided), but do not select a major just because a cousin, a friend, or the aunt of your mom's best friend's hair stylist said that applying as (insert major name here) major would get you admitted. Once you decide to enroll at UGA, though, make sure that the major you have selected is the one you really want, especially prior to orientation. Why? Because at orientation, you will be meeting with an academic advisor, planning out your next year's classes, and getting on track for a degree. So you want to make sure you speak with the correct advisor based on your most up-to-date major plan.

Transfer Applicants
When you apply to UGA, your major will almost never have any impact on an admission decision, but you do not have the opportunity to change your major during the admission process (unlike freshman). There are numerous reasons for this, from students trying to game the system when we had some extended deadlines to programs trying to plan out how many students they will have, but the result is that transfers have to stay with their major they have selected. Why is this important? Because when you are advised at orientation, you want to make sure you are working with the correct advisor and have planned out a road map towards a degree correctly. This is more important for transfers than freshman, as most transfers have already taken a great deal of their core courses, already know what they plan on majoring in at UGA, and need to sign up for some specific classes during their first term at UGA. You do not want to be at orientation trying to change things, getting incorrect information due to selecting a major that you thought would get you admitted, or wasting the time of an advisor who you will not be working with in the future. If you apply to UGA, select the major you want, and know that we do not hold pre-Business students to a higher standard of admission than English majors, or Genetics vs. History, etc.
I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

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