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Exploring A Major -- Welcome to Geneseo

This letter is sent to students who are admitted to Geneseo if they indicate they are still exploring what their major will be:

Congratulations on your admission to Geneseo!.  Our close-knit and caring campus is welcoming to students in every major.  But I especially want to reach out to students who are still exploring what they want to study.

The heart of higher education in the twenty-first century is integrative learning, that is, seeing the intersection of knowledge across many disciplines.  Scientists need strong communication skills; sociologists need to understand how people explain their lives through storytelling; businesses demand an understanding of history; journalists need to understand economics; everyone needs to be a strong writer and have a foundation in psychology; even poets need to understand the principles of scientific inquiry.

Some students worry that they will get behind if they haven’t chosen a major right away.  The truth is, “Undeclared” or “Exploring a Major” is one of the most popular choices for incoming students.  Rather than worrying about a particular major, you can ask yourself, “What skills and knowledge to I want to acquire?  How do I like to work?  Am I a problem solver? A people organizer? A good team player?  A listener? Communicator?  Creator?  What kind of analysis interests me, qualitative or quantitative?  Do I want to develop skills as a designer, a curator, or an investigator?

You’ll notice that none of these questions asks, “What do you want to be?”  Yes, there are jobs in business, teaching, healthcare, law, data analytics, environmentalism, and the arts.  But you will get a job by describing your skills and knowledge – which you might obtain through many different majors.  Geneseo graduates have gone to law school after majoring in mathematics, completed medical school after flourishing as a history major, and found a home in high tech after studying Geography.  While a few majors are large and need to be started as early as possible, most Geneseo majors can be completed in four years even if you don’t get going on them until your second year of college.  So what should you do in your first semester as you explore your major?

  • Take a variety of General Education courses that will count toward degree requirements but also expose you to many departments across campus
  • Elect the one-credit Geneseo First-Year Seminar to do a deep dive on study skills and career and major exploration
  • Visit the Career Development Center early and often for interest assessments, self-reflection, and chats with outstanding advisors.

We look forward to working with you as you find your academic home at Geneseo.  Please keep in touch!

Sincerely,

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Dr. Celia A. Easton
Dean of Academic Planning & Advising & Professor of English