For Parents: How to Select a Major for College Applications

Parents and guardians, we know how hard it can be to help your high schooler figure out what to put as a major on their college applications. Former Admissions Officer Brian Poznanski wants to help. In this 60-minute webinar and Q&A, get insider knowledge on how to guide your student through selecting a major for college applications and discovering their passions. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!

Date 04/13/2022
Duration 1:04:01

Webinar Transcription

2022-04-13 For Parents: How to Select a Major for College Applications

[00:00:00] Good evening. Um, it’s great to be with you all, uh, tonight presenting, um, and, and chatting with you all a little bit about how to select a major, um, you know, really exciting, uh, topic and really looking forward to the next hour or so.

Uh, my name is Brian. I am a former admissions officer on having worked for, uh, eight years in college admissions. Uh, vast majority of that time, I worked at Boston university where I was an assistant director, um, on the. Of [00:04:00] admissions. Um, I also did two years at, uh, or worked for two years at Regis college, a very small, uh, liberal arts college outside of Boston.

Um, and I graduated from Saint Anselm college on, in 2008. Um, I studied politics, um, and I, as it says here, I received my MBA, um, in 2018, um, while I was at BU with a public and nonprofit concentration. So really excited to be chatting with you all today on it’s actually an inappropriate topic for me because I’m coming to you, uh, tonight from my parents’ basement, um, as, um, um, just visiting, uh, then, uh, today.

Um, so, uh, you know, you’ll see some, uh, some Boston sports memorabilia behind me. I’m a huge Boston sports fan in which we can talk about another time, but, uh, you know, excited to be chatting with you on. Yes, and real quick, we just want to do a quick poll. So what grade is your child currently in eighth, ninth, 10th, [00:05:00] 11th, 12th, or other.

And other can be if your student is a transfer student or taking a gap year. And while we wait for those, um, answers to roll in Brian, can you tell us a bit about, um, what it was like for you to pick a major? Yeah, absolutely. So, as I mentioned, I studied politics, um, as an undergrad student. Um, and truthfully I was probably one of, you know, kind of the rare, uh, folks that, that the, in my experience that really knew exactly what I wanted to study and then ultimately stuck with it all through school.

Didn’t change my mind once on, you know, I was a little bit of a history nerd and, um, history buff as a, as a younger kid on. And, you know, I grew up in New Hampshire, um, and people may know like New Hampshire is kind of the. Really a great classroom for, for studying politics. You know, the first in the nation primary have candidates coming all the way through.

And [00:06:00] my dad took me to see a candidate in 2000. I was in sixth grade on at Nashville high school. And from that moment on, I was just hooked. Um, and so I really enjoyed studying it, following it, still follow, uh, politics. And even though I’m not working in it, um, ultimately, uh, you know, it was definitely a passion of mine and, and a fun hobby that I really enjoyed studying.

Definitely. I was one of those kids that switched their majors. I switched my second semester, freshman year. Um, and it’s looking like we have 5%, ninth graders, 33%, 10th graders, 57% 11th graders making up the majority 2% 12th graders and another 2% other, you can control the slides. Cool. Um, and Mackenzie, that is totally okay.

Um, and that will be one of the topics of our conversation, uh, this evening. Um, you know, why does a student need to, or your student, uh, need to select, um, a college [00:07:00] major, um, going into the application process. Um, and, and there are a couple of different reasons. Um, one is that it can definitely help direct your search overall.

Um, you know, if you’re thinking about it and, you know, there’s a specific program that your student wants to study, um, they may look at some schools, um, more closely than others. Um, especially if that school doesn’t offer that program, um, or maybe, uh, sets a group of schools is, is really renowned for that specific program on that your student wants to study.

So it can definitely help on the search overall. And, and again, start to narrow down and be one of the, um, you know, the pieces in, in your search that kind of narrows, uh, that, that way. Um, you want to know if they have it right. They want, we want to know if they have their program of interest or at least, um, a group of majors or subjects that your student would be interested [00:08:00] in studying.

So in fact, one of the schools that ultimately ended up applying to didn’t actually have a political science or politics, uh, major or, uh, or department, um, they ha but I would have ended up studying history. And, and for me, that would have, um, if I ended going there, I liked the school. Um, and that would have been okay on, you know, I would have found other ways to supplement my interests.

Um, you know, I ultimately didn’t enroll at that school. Um, I did enroll at, as I said, St. ASAM college, which has a great politics program. And, and I, again, to get a little bit of that front row seat to, to, um, you know, politics being in the state of New Hampshire for, uh, four years of college as well, um, If you do know the exact subject matter, um, if you don’t know, I should say that’s what they should read.

That is okay too. That is okay. It is okay to be undecided, um, is [00:09:00] okay to apply as a undeclared student, um, is okay to change your mind. Um, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that in, in later slides, but it is definitely okay to not know a hundred percent what you want to study. Um, and, uh, that, that that’s perfectly, um, okay.

So. Another thing that I also want to mention before I get into, especially the next slide is that, you know, with these webinars, I have to speak in pretty gross generalizations. So not everything I say is going to apply to every single person on this webinar. Every single student there are obviously going to be exceptions, different schools are going to have different circumstances, different students are going to have different circumstances.

I think what is ultimately true for everyone. And I strongly believe this, and I’ll talk a little bit about this at the end as well, is that everyone has [00:10:00] their own path and is an extremely important that you enable your student to follow his or her own path, whatever that means. Um, and so we’ll talk again a little bit about that at the very end.

I have some advice that I want to leave you all at the end of the night. Um, so how do you help your students determine what, uh, his or her major might be and what’s the right fit? Um, I think one of the first things that you can do is, is think about what do they enjoy studying? What do they get pleasure out of?

What do, um, they, you know, read or. Additional information about even above and beyond, you know, what they have to do for class. Um, you know, is there something that they really like to read? Like, you know, for instance, I read a lot of, uh, biographies and historical biographies. Um, I read a lot about the U S presidents and things of that nature.

Um, I was obsessed, um, [00:11:00] with the show, the west wing and, and while that is obviously a drama fiction, um, you know, it was something that, um, I watched religiously, um, and admittedly still. Um, you know, now I listen to a lot of different podcasts, you know, maybe your student does that. Maybe they’re involved in some kind of club or extracurricular that is academically adjacent.

Um, and, and that, you know, shows their enjoyment. Um, you know, so maybe they do have a hobby that really kind of, you know, sparks their interests. And maybe that isn’t, you know, that’s a hobby that’s outside of maybe what are the traditional core academic solids within your high school curriculum, right on, because there’s so much more out there that you can study than just, you know, English, math, science, social science, and foreign language, right?

Like, and, and obviously within social sciences and in, in the sciences and even in English, uh, You know, there are many [00:12:00] different variations, uh, that fall within those larger categories that you can study as well. Um, I didn’t know how many different variations of like being a biology major you could possibly be for it, for instance.

Um, so there’s a lot of different things that you can do. Um, and, and, you know, you should pursue something or your students should, I should say, pursue something that, um, you know, is, is maybe even beyond the academic pursuit, but, but I really do believe as a hobby because you want them to enjoy what they’re studying every day.

Um, you know, sometimes I think about, you know, over the course of their high school career, or even earlier, you know, in, you know, observing their academics and speaking with their teachers, was there a teacher that really sparked their interest in a subject? You know, a lot of times a good teacher can really bring a subject alive for a student, um, and that can encourage them to, to further, um, Um, I can definitely think of a number of social [00:13:00] science and history teachers that I had that really sparked my interest in the subject area.

Um, you know, so those are things to think about. I mean, you obviously know your student probably better than anyone else. And so, um, you can definitely help them advise, um, uh, in their, in their. And then lastly, of course, you know, do they have an idea, maybe there’s a reason why I’m leaving this one last.

Um, do they have an idea of what they may want to do in their future career on, you know, obviously it’s hard to ask a 17 or 18 year old, you know, what do you want to do for the rest of your life? Um, you know, I sometimes joke that I still don’t know. Um, and I’m many years out of school, what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Um, and, and that’s okay too, right? I think we’re all going to change our minds and, and pursue variety of different things and have side interests. And that’s all good. Those are positive things. Um, and so it is okay not to know or be a hundred percent sold. Um, [00:14:00] and you know, it’s, it’s good to potentially introduce them to different ideas or maybe show them paths.

You know, if, if you yourself, um, you know, went down as a very specific educational journey, You know, falled into your career. Um, obviously maybe they’ve already been exposed to that or, um, you know, you can continue to expose them to that, or you have friends or family members that, uh, you can expose to different career paths.

Um, but I think it’s, it’s okay for 17 year old to not know exactly what they want to do in five years or six years, um, you know, or 10, 10 years for that matter. Um, and, and so I think we should definitely support them in this journey and that the other piece on and tie this back to me a little bit here in, in two different ways.

One is what I ultimately studied had very little ultimately, uh, and really quite frankly, no [00:15:00] correlation to my ultimate, uh, profession and career. Um, both as a college admission officer and now I’m working as a corporate recruiter. So, um, I definitely take skills that I learned in college and use those in my professional career, um, and knowledge on for sure.

And, and, and theories and, and opinions. Um, that guide me in my work and why I was interested in education is definitely rooted in my study of, you know, political science and things of that nature. But with that said, um, I didn’t end up doing what I thought I was going to do, which is, you know, go work on the hill or, uh, live in DC and, and kind of work in government that didn’t ultimately happen for me.

It might for some, and if they study and again, there are some academic journeys that are very linear in that direction. The other thing that I want to mention real quick before I move on [00:16:00] is, is, is again, advising your student in this way. And I’ll use my father as an example here again, um, it’s appropriate that I’m sitting in their basement at the moment, um, that, you know, when I told my father I wanted to study politics, he was like, yeah.

All right, great. Like, what are you going to do with that? Right. And so he was like, do you want to maybe also pursue business or economics or something, you know, to have as like a side opportunity, that would be more career direct directed. Um, and you know, I was really focused on my thing. And so I think that, you know, again, it’s just important to that.

We all support the students in what their journey is going to be, uh, over the, over that, that path. And we can definitely direct them and help, um, introduce them to different paths and journeys, but ultimately it’s going to be, um, again, it’s going to be their journey. It’s going to be their. Okay, so moving on a little bit here, um, should, you know, your high schoolers [00:17:00] activities correspond with the major data they’re interested in?

So, um, they can, but they don’t have to. And again, this is a little bit of a Willy nilly kind of answer, um, you know, kind of sitting on a fence here because, you know, I, again, I knew what I wanted to do and I did definitely participate in some clubs and activities that, that related to my, um, pursuit, you know, I was involved in mock trial, for instance, I did student government, I was in a political action club.

I volunteered on a variety of local campaigns. Um, but I also worked outside of school. Um, I was in the bands, um, you know, and, and, you know, played, uh, an instrument. Um, I was. Not good enough to play sports in high school, but I was very interested in sports, um, you know, and, and things of that nature. So it not, everything has to relate directly to your academic pers uh, pursuits and truthfully, I think more and more [00:18:00] college admission officers are really looking for that well-rounded candidate that has a variety of interests, not just one thing on, and you know, they’re not just, you know, single-minded, and, and narrow-focused, now that’s not to say that, you know, students that, that do, uh, go down that pathway and that’s, you know, their, their one true calling and that’s what they love to do.

And that’s all they want to do. That’s okay, too. I mean, if they’re really invested in that and they experience a variety of different opportunities, um, you know, I think that. But I think being balanced, um, and again, following your interests and hobbies, um, is just so important. Um, I think it’s really important to be balanced, um, try new things, try different things on, you know, and, and, and that’s good.

I think the exception for this is that for some programs on, you know, it may be more important to be a little bit more specifically focused. If there are certain, there are [00:19:00] certain training or experiences are expected when you are applying. Um, a good example of this is in our music program, right? If you’re going to study, if I had wanted to major in saxophone performance, you know, I would’ve wanted to.

Maybe focus more on my music and practice far more than I actually did so that I, you know, could actually be admitted to one of those programs. Um, because you are going to have to audition in many cases, you know, if you’re a painter or a drawer, um, you’re in theater, um, things of that nature, you’re going to maybe want to hone that.

You know, if you’re applying to a medical program, um, sometimes, uh, physical therapy program or an accelerated medical program, accelerated dental program, you know, they’re going to require, um, potentially shadowing experiences with, uh, uh, a physician or a health professional. Um, you know, so some of those can be really helpful.

Um, you know, I see a [00:20:00] lot of students obviously that are interested in, you know, engineering or computer science, having, you know, experience with, uh, data science, um, and, and coding and language on computer languages. I think that can be helpful and, and be a leg up. So it really kind of depends on the program.

I think if you’re going the liberal arts, social science, or really just, I should say the liberal arts route, I think being as balanced as you can, which is what truly in many ways a liberal arts is all about, um, is going to be a really good, uh, options. So it really depends on, on the case on some, some people are gonna want to specialize and focus, um, and others, you know, it’s, it’s really good to be balanced.

Um, okay. So is it okay if a student is applying as an undecided, uh, major and in some cases, um, you’ll also see this called undeclared. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, absolutely. It’s okay. [00:21:00] On so 99% of the time, um, and there’s very, very small, um, you know, exceptions to that. Um, and that may vary truthfully by, uh, different colleges and different institutions.

But again, I’ll use, you know, my experience as a college, uh, officer at Boston university, as an example, we had, uh, eight different schools in, uh, colleges at the U on and every single one of them you could apply. Um, you know, you have. Apply specifically to, or the score or college. Um, but you could apply under clarity, even something like engineering, you could apply undeclared.

And then declare once you’re enrolled a, uh, major in, you know, uh, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering or biomedical engineering, et cetera, et cetera. Um, and so that is perfectly acceptable. Um, it’s especially [00:22:00] true, you know, really, if you’re applying to college, Um, my Almaraz sand, some colleges, you know, one school, one school or college.

Um, you’re applying to just that pro uh, that college or university, um, for admission you’re reviewed for the entire university. Um, you know, and, and this was true at BU we were admitting students to Boston university. We were, you know, not on just specifically on their academic program or pursuit. Um, so it’s definitely very common, um, to apply undecided undeclared.

Um, and again, truthfully, when I was a member of the staff at BU um, we would see, you know, over half of our truthfully half of our applicants apply, um, you know, as undeclared or undecided. Program to one of our schools or colleges. Um, it really didn’t impact the emission decision. Um, again, as we were typically evaluating emission for the entire college or university itself, and this makes a lot of [00:23:00] sense, if you think about it from the perspective of, you know, typically when you’re admitted to a school on and you enroll at that school, you can then take classes in really the entire university.

And so, you know, again, I’ll use BU as an example, a student that was admitted to the question of school of business could still take, um, you know, a art class in the college of fine arts or a hospitality class in the school of hospitality or a public relations course in our college of communications. So there’s a lot of different flexibility there, and that is true.

Again, in many, many institutions, every, every school or college is going to have some slight variations to that. So that is part of the search process, but I have run into very few schools that say, If any, actually, quite frankly, that say you can’t ply undecided, or you can’t apply undeclared, you have to pick a major on again.

You may have to apply to a specific score college on, and then you can decide your [00:24:00] major once you’re enrolled. Um, but part of the journey is, is really again, deciding what you want to do. And most schools are not going to hold students down to just one specific path. Um, and, and so there are exceptions, there are variations of this, um, of course, um, by each institution on, and I, I will say one of the true caveats of that is some one that I’ve already mentioned something like an accelerated medical program or, you know, a classical, um, you know, arts program or something along those lines, you know, Want to study in that field, then you’re going to have to apply directly to that program.

Um, now you can still always change your mind out of that later. Right. Um, but you do have to apply direct to tap program typically, um, in order to, to be on the path, um, that, that you want going forward. So generally speaking, um, yes, yes, yes, it is totally okay. [00:25:00] To not know and still be applying under undecided or undeclared.

Um, that’s definitely a, okay. Um, can your student put down different majors when applying to different schools? Yes, absolutely. Um, you know, mine was a good example. You know, I applied to one school, they didn’t have politics. I applied as a history major. Um, I applied as a politics major to my other schools on.

And so, you know, it’s definitely a perfectly acceptable, um, you know, your, your. Your schools are not going to see your, your various applications to the other schools. Um, and, and so it doesn’t have any bearing on, and this is especially true. If, if you know, those schools don’t offer all the same programs, so definitely okay.

Um, to put down different majors, um, you know, I think that of all the students that I’ve worked with, I look, think back this year, um, yeah, that, that maybe had different majors. I think they’re still in the same ballpark. Right. You know, like it’s, it’s, uh, [00:26:00] um, a student applying to computer engineering and computer science.

Um, but you know, it’s still kind of in the same area, um, or data science or something like that on, or business and economics, or, you know, something along those lines. Um, but you can still, um, you know, apply to different schools and, you know, you absolutely, in some cases, um, can put down multiple, uh, programs, you know, and you have a first choice and the second choice.

If, if the student is interested in multiple subjects as a really good example of, you know, a lot of schools offer, you know, the opportunity to minor in a subject or have a concentration on, you know, at BU uh, we had this, uh, this opportunity to do a double major, or even a dual degree, um, dual degree being two different majors within two different schools or colleges at the university.

So a lot of these colleges, um, offer a lot of different opportunities for students to really explore their academic interests and really kind of, uh, [00:27:00] fine tune, uh, what they’re interested in studying, um, and not to go down like a crazy rabbit hole, but there are many institutions that are even allowing students to design their own academic paths.

Um, and so, you know, there’s just a lot of, there’s a lot more, um, flexibility within the academic. I think, um, recently in the last 10, 15 years, um, since I was applying to school and have, since I’ve been involved in it. Um, and I think that that’s a good thing. Um, you know, because it really allows the students to cater to their, their academic pursuits and potentially professional pursuits as well.

All right, Mackenzie, we got another poll here. Yeah. So, um, the next question is, does your child know what they want to study? Yes, no, maybe or not sure. And while we wait for those to roll in, Brian, can you tell us, um, a little bit, what have you worked as an advisor with CollegeAdvisor? I have. [00:28:00] Okay. Yeah.

Did you, is there a second to follow there? A follow up? Yes. Can you tell us a bit about how you’ve supported your clients, um, with, um, picking a major if maybe they were having trouble? Yeah. So I will be honest and say that. Everyone that I can think of right now had some idea, um, which you know, is fine and that’s good too.

Um, but I think it’s, it’s a lot of, again, asking those questions of, well, what do you like to do for fun on, you know, what do you, uh, you know, do you like to read, if so, what do you like, what, what do you like to read on, you know, tell me, uh, about what you’ve read recently, whether it be newspaper magazine, book, you know, internet article, or, you know, billboard, you know, like whatever, right?

Like what draws your attention, um, and then kind of figuring out from there. Um, and again, I think just [00:29:00] listening to what the students’ hobbies and passions are, um, what their favorite classes. Those are some of my like immediate go-to shoes to kind of figure out, okay, this might be a good academic path for this.

Definitely I had a two hour conversation was one of my girls, um, to S to get a good idea of what school she wants to go to. She knew she was interested in pre-law, but wasn’t sure about the major and she was interested in dance. So like talking to her about how you can combine two things that don’t even seem connected to really create something that’s worthwhile, worth your money and your time.

And it is looking like we have 23% of parents are saying, yes, 14% are saying no, 49%. They may be in 14% are unsure. Awesome. All right. Well, we’re, we’re happy to, to help you kind of figure that out and go through that process. So, all right. Moving along here, um, we’ll putting down a less [00:30:00] popular major. This is a really common question, um, that I would get all the time increase a student’s chances at a more competitive school.

Um, so my basic answer to this is not really, um, you know, I, you know, it could based on the overall applicant pool and kind of, you know, how many students applied to one specific program versus some of the other programs. But, you know, I really don’t view this as a productive, as a productive admissions strategy.

I think that it’s really important for the student to focus again on what they want to study, what they want to be enrolled in, um, when they start, um, because remember if they apply, um, as a specific major, this is the program that they’re going to be enrolled in, um, when they start classes in the fall.

Um, and you want them to start on a good foot and be taking courses that they want to [00:31:00] take. And you don’t want to be applying to a program just to get in only to have to go through a process of. Out of that program and maybe getting into a different school or college or whatever the case may be. So, I mean, yes, some programs are more competitive than others often, simply strictly based off of how many people apply to that specific program.

Um, but I always think is a good strategy, um, to apply to the program that your student is most interested in period on and, and really kind of pursue it that way. Um, and, and, and in most cases I have not seen it be again, a productive emission strategy, so I’ll just kind of leave it. Uh, we’ll leave it there.

Um, Cool. So what major did I apply to, and did that change? I’ve already talked a little bit about this. Um, so I did apply as a politics major, um, and I applied to as a history major at one of the [00:32:00] schools that I applied to that didn’t offer political science. Um, I’ve also, I don’t know if anyone’s attended any of my webinars before, but I also am like kind of a rare person in this perspective that I only applied to three schools.

Um, which again is pretty rare nowadays. Um, with, I think the average being around eight or nine schools, I think is eight last time I checked. Um, so it was pretty rare for me to only apply to three. Um, but again, I felt good about them. Um, and, and how I kind of narrowed it down. I visited far more, uh, than that.

Um, but I narrowed it down and said, you know, if I were only to get into one of these, um, you know, I’d be really happy going to any of these three schools. Um, and so one of them only offered history then offer political science. Um, my major did not change. Um, I did pursue a number of internships, um, and kind of clubs and organizations or through college that were very much [00:33:00] aligned to, um, my major and up until, um, probably truthfully November, December of my senior year of college, I thought that I would be pursuing, you know, a political, you know, some kind of a career in politics.

Post-graduation, um, you know, my, my junior year, summer, junior year into senior year, I worked on a us Senate campaign. Um, and you know, that candidate lost. Um, and, and had I had that candidate one, I probably, we would have ultimately, you know, worked in, in his office and whether that’d be in New Hampshire in DC, and I probably wouldn’t be talking to you all right now.

So, um, you know, it’s a very different, uh, kind of, uh, perspective on, but I made a major swerve on in second semester, my senior year and kind of realizing, you know, I also did an admission tours when I was in college and, you know, I kind of really enjoyed that and I was really passionate about [00:34:00] education and helping people find education and so on.

That’s how I ultimately landed up in, in higher ed. Um, but, uh, yeah, I did stick with my major and really did think I was going to pursue a career in that, that field up until really almost the very end of my collegiate career. Um,

As a form of emission offer, sir. Um, you know, what is some final advice on? So I, you know, obviously you all, as, as parents want, what is an, um, I can only imagine, cause I don’t have, you know, to be honest, I don’t have children, so I, I can’t truly imagine, but I, I do imagine that you all love your children very much and want what’s best for them.

Um, and, and so you want to be supportive in the process on, and I see that I would see this [00:35:00] all the time, um, on college visits and, and, you know, the mom and dad are trying to be supportive and student is, is on, you know, kind of, um, you know, hemming and hiring and maybe it will be embarrassing and it’s a challenging situation.

Um, I think the most important thing to remember is what I mentioned earlier. And that is that this is their path. This is their journey. Um, and ultimately at the end of the day on, they are going to have to, um, succeed on their own. Um, and, and they’re going to have to go to class on their own. They’re going to have to do their, their work.

They’re going to have to take their exams. They’re going to have to eat the food, live in the dining halls, walk around campus and, and be involved in clubs and organizations on their own. Um, and so. You know, I think that it’s really important to be supportive in that, that process, um, and in what they ultimately want to do.

Um, [00:36:00] obviously being realistic and, and offering them guidance is extremely important. Um, and so I think that that includes being honest with them throughout the process about, you know, what schools make sense and what schools don’t make sense for a variety of different reasons. Um, but I also always, always, um, would encourage students to kind of using kind of a horse racing metaphor, you know, put your blinders on, on, and, and really just focused on your race.

And, and this is applicable to parents too. And that is that, um, it doesn’t matter. Um, what your friends, your family, your neighbors, other people, um, parents, your friends and their kids, what their test scores are, what their grades are, or what schools they’re applying to, or what schools they got into. It matters for them, the student, um, in their journey, what their process is.

Um, and so when you can focus on your process and not worry about [00:37:00] maybe some of that exterior noise, I think it brings some of that stress, um, that is often talked about in the college process down a little bit. It doesn’t alleviate it, it doesn’t end it, um, but it brings it down just a little bit. Um, and if you can just focus on your process, um, that will be really good.

Um, and, and, and you all parents, students will all be, you know, You know, still happy, happy with each other, uh, at the end, at the end of the journey on, but again, thinking about their strengths, um, what do they Excel at? Where are they good at? Um, what do you think that they would really, um, do well on? And, and, you know, you, you kind of know, I think probably better than anyone as, as has been kind of watching on the sidelines, their entire lives, um, you know, what really brings out the best in them.

Um, and so I encourage you to help support them and, and help them see that for themselves. [00:38:00] Um, and then we’re along for the ride as well. We’re here to help, um, and, and, and support any services as, as necessary. But I think we’re, we’re, uh, gonna take some, some questions. Um, and I look forward to answering some of those.

Yes. So that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slide from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab and read them aloud before our panels gives you an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the webinar through the custom links into your email and not from the webinar landing page or the website.

Because if you join from there, it won’t give you all the features of big micro. So just make sure you join through the custom link. Okay. So getting started. So you mentioned that applying undeclared or undecided one affect a student’s admissions chances, but there are like those why school questions, or why program questions.

And then just in general, like students having a very clear interest and that [00:39:00] helping them get into programs, how can a student. Really I’m like market themselves, um, to, uh, as an undecided or undeclared major to help them with their chances of admissions. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a great question. And I think that, um, again, I’ll use, uh, my experience at, at Boston university as an example, um, because we did have one of those, you know, why we would call it the why, BU question.

Um, and so I think that, you know, saying I want to apply to a school like a BU that allows a lot of flexibility, um, because I don’t a hundred percent know what I want to study. You know, I can take classes in a variety of different programs. I don’t have to declare right away. Um, you know, I have that flexibility or you’re applying to a liberal arts college, you know, you like that, that well-rounded curriculum, that’s going to offer you a variety of different experiences.

Um, you know, that can really speak to why you’re speaking. You’re picking [00:40:00] the school as well. Um, that you like that flexibility, you like the exposure you want to study again, a variety of different things. I mean, you know, you’re that true Renaissance academic, you want to, you know, have your hands in a little bit of everything on, and I loved reading those types of essays because I was like, man, this student, this student is awesome.

Like I want to have a conversation with him or her because they’re interested in so many different things. Um, and so I think that that would always stand out. I think for one of, some of those supplemental questions are like, okay, well, why are you applying to this specific school or college or specific program?

Um, you can still talk about again, um, being, having an interest in let’s say business, but you don’t know if you want to study finance, accounting, marketing, um, Logistics, whatever the case may be. You just know that you want to do something in business and, and truthfully like, yes, I work with a lot of [00:41:00] students that do know all the different areas of business, but I’ll be honest, even when, before I started working in admissions and before I ultimately ended up going and getting my MBA, I didn’t even know all the different variations of like business.

Right. You know, you think, okay, I’m going to say business, like that’s so broad. Um, and so I think, um, you know, exposing, you know, your specific, uh, interests and, and, and, or should I say, um, kind of the fact that you’re interested in still pursuing and finding that ultimate it, um, and, and show. Your academic curiosity, um, and showing your pursuit of knowledge, um, demonstrating how you’re going to go about doing that or how XYZ school is going to help you find your ultimate major that’s.

Um, I think really, you know, what’s going to stand out, you know, maybe, you know, that there’s specific professor, um, that you think has done really cool [00:42:00] work and you can’t wait to take a class and maybe that will help you decide your major or, you know, um, a specific research opportunity or, you know, a variety of different things.

So that’s how I would approach it. Uh, kind of going off of that. Um, how can students navigate, like picking a school, um, if they’re unsure about what they want to do or even they have multiple interests. Yeah. I mean, I think that in those cases, a lot of times you need to find out. Well, what I’m saying is possible, is it possible at that school?

Right? Um, is it possible for me to kind of still explore, um, and, and, um, you know, kind of figure it out as I go. Um, but then, you know, ultimately in that case, maybe your academic major is not the most in that case is not the most important, the most important [00:43:00] thing in your college choice. Um, it doesn’t always have to be, I mean, there is a lot more to going to college than what you ultimately study.

Um, and I know that sounds counterintuitive. Um, but I once had a college professor, um, tell me that, uh, You know, the, the most important thing about going to college is not what you learn in the classroom is what you do outside the classroom. Um, and I thought that that was really interesting. Um, and I don’t know that a hundred percent agree with that all the time.

Um, you know, but, um, you know, I think that there is a lot more to the college experience than just what you’re studying. And so in those cases where you really truly don’t know maybe what that saying is, you know, I can say a lot of different things. There are other things that I’m looking for in my particular college choice and that’s okay.

Definitely when I was picking, um, [00:44:00] doing my college research, um, I fell in love with Cornell university, which is where I attend because the college of human ecology had multiple, uh, majors that I was interested in. So they had a policy major, they have human development, which I’m currently in public health, which was my original major, um, fashion design, which I just like.

Um, but I probably wouldn’t major in, so I assume that if I want it to switch majors, I could just keep jumping around in the college of human ecology. And I ended up switching again my first second semester, freshman year. Pretty easy since it was within the college. So maybe that’s an option. And then also I’m even looking at a school’s like curriculum set up.

So like some schools have a core curriculum where you’re like freshmen, sophomore year. You may have to take those freshmen, math, freshmen, science, et cetera, um, which can help you explore multiple areas before you have to choose. And you take and start taking your major specific courses in your upperclassman years.

And then there are schools with more open curriculums where you get [00:45:00] to sort of pick and choose what you want. Which can help you to really pick those classes that you’re interested in. If you have a specific, specific areas of interest. So maybe that’s something you might want to look at. And then again, looking outside of the classroom is always great, too.

I really love like the field work opportunities that I’ve gotten. I’m doing my own research project. Those are other things that are really important in the admissions experience. Well college experience. Yeah, definitely. And so going on to the next question, um, for student athletes, a student is asking what, if you want to play a sport as well as get a good education and an area of interest, but the best place to play doesn’t match your major.

Do you forget the sport or do you change to your second favorite?

Yeah. And, you know, I think that this is an example of one of those questions that it’s, you know, it’s a really personal individual choice and you have to decide what is more important to me. And, um, I saw this in the chat as well, and [00:46:00] I think the person was referring to, you know, a division one level, you know, um, competition.

Right. So, I mean, if you’re able to compete at a D one level, um, obviously that’s important, you know, I, I should say it’s probably pretty important, uh, to the student. Um, and so, yeah, I mean, it comes down to making a choice and like I said, it’s okay if your academic major is not ultimately the most important piece in your emission decision, um, and your college choice.

Um, I would also say though, that. I do believe that it’s still possible to pursue athletics and academics at the same time. Um, and that, you know, there are plenty of schools where you probably would be able to still, um, receive a good education, um, you know, and, and, and, and play. Um, [00:47:00] so that’s a tough one, you know, is, is really one that I’m not able to give advice other than to say.

Um, you know, I think that you have to, you follow your heart and follow your path. Definitely. And if you are looking for that, one-on-one support for those very specific questions of, for those in the room who are already working with us. We know that the college admissions process is overwhelming for parents and students alike.

Our team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in one-on-one advising sessions and last year’s admission cycle. Our students were accepted into Harvard at three times, the national rate and accepted into their students and their families can explore webinars, keep track of application deadlines, research schools, and more, all right on our website.

Now back to the. Okay. So the next student is asking and we kind of talked about this before the webinar. Do [00:48:00] you suggest a personality test to assist in determining a major? I don’t. I do not want my child to spend time taking, uh, getting credits that will not go towards their degree. I want him to make the best decision as soon as.

Okay. Not a hundred percent. I understand the second part of the question, but I’ll try to, uh, address, um, the personality, um, you know, uh, portion on. So look, I think that, um, as I mentioned a little bit, I think there are a lot of different tools that you can use for folks that really truly have no idea. Um, and so there are some tests, career, path tests, uh, academic path tests that can.

You know, ask you a bunch of questions and then, and then it assesses and culminates in. And really what it does is it does the thinking for you of all your interests and passions, and then spits out something that it thinks, you know, could align with that. Um, I shared with, uh, McKenzie earlier that I did one of these [00:49:00] on, you know, uh, when I was in high school.

Um, and it told me that I should be a flight attendant, which I thought was completely ridiculous. Um, and I’m convinced that it was because I answered that. I like to travel. Um, you know, so it’s like, okay. Um, you know, I didn’t really think that that was very helpful, um, for me personally. Um, but that’s not to say that it couldn’t be, uh, helpful for others.

So I think that there are a lot of different tools that go into the process, a lot of different evaluations, but again, I think it’s one of the ways of doing kind of a deep self-reflection, um, and evaluating again, your passions, your interests, um, both in and outside the. Uh, 16 personalities as a fun one, a pretty good one.

Um, those like some personality tests, you kind of have to know what your answer is. Um, so the questions in order for it to be accurate. So it is going to come down to your own or your student’s own reflection at the end of the day still. Um, and then, so really [00:50:00] having them think about like what they’d liked in school, what they like doing outside of school, what they imagine, their future career or careers being, and thinking about that.

And majors and careers are very random. And while these days you can kind of make up a job these days. Um, so it doesn’t need to be anything so set in stone. Um, but I do understand that component. The apparent was saying that they don’t want the student, um, taking a bunch of courses in different things and wasting like time and money and credits trying to figure out something, um, and just being able to get like to the degree requirements.

So like what that end, I think, like picking a school that either has the core classes. So you have a guaranteed, um, you got halfway through your credits could be a good option if they’re unsure or if they have a good idea about what they want to do, picking an open curriculum school can be good. Um, maybe one with a bit more structure sorta like Cornell’s where you have to fulfill major requirements, but you still have room to explore, so they can [00:51:00] still explore those interests, but you know, that they’re going to get their degree requirements could be good.

Um, some of those things may just come down to learning style, time management and all those other things. Yup. Uh, so going on to the next question, uh, students asking this pudding, uh, undecided, um, or changing your major affect the cost of college. Um, it really doesn’t. Um, it, you know, I, I’m trying to think of an example where it possibly could, and then I’m kind of struggling to do so.

Um, you know, it, it, it, uh, you know, tuition is not different based on, on what your, you know, yearly tuition is not, uh, different based on what you’re studying. Um, the only thing that I can think of is things like academic books or additional, um, you know, instruments that you may need. Um, and when I say instruments, I don’t mean musical instruments necessarily, but like, you know, if you need a special calculator or computer or programming to do, [00:52:00] you know, your, uh, your work, um, you know, that’s obviously an additional costs.

Um, so, you know, I really don’t think there would be. Um, maybe you could say that the exception to the rule, um, would be, you know, one of like an accelerated medical pro you know, a seven year accelerated medical program where by definition, you’re already. You know, taking on additional, uh, academic work, but many people view that as, you know, cutting a year off of school, right.

Because, um, you know, your senior year of college and your first year of grad school are usually combined. So, uh, generally speaking, I would say, no, it would not increase, um, or change your academic, um, or tuition costs on the switching majors side of thing. It, my costs haven’t gone up. Yeah. That’s a good question.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, um, so there may be a fee, um, you know, schools may have a fee, uh, [00:53:00] to switch majors or to switch into a score of college. You may have to, in some cases, if you’re at a large university that has multiple schools or college, you may have to reapply to. Score college. Um, not always, but sometimes you may.

Um, and then, um, in some cases, again, depending on how, what classes you’ve taken, what credits you’ve had, what are the core requirements of the program? Um, it may then take longer than the traditional four years to then complete your degree. Um, you know, so a good example of this would be, um, if you applied again, I’ll use you as an example, you apply to one of the schools or colleges, and then later decided you actually wanted to do, you know, the bachelor of fine arts.

Um, and you really wanted to do a music theater or visual arts. Um, you know, the college of fine arts wouldn’t guarantee that you would then be able to complete that degree in the same four year period as if you had applied [00:54:00] as of, uh, first year. So that’s an example of maybe an increased cost of changing.

This one is like super school specific, but Cornell, like my college college of human ecology is a land grant school. So take technically it’s a public state school. Weill Cornell is a private university. So the other colleges like, um, college of agriculture, um, it costs, I believe like $80,000 a year tuition and stuff.

Um, but my school, since the land grant, it’s like 50,000. Um, so if I were to switch into the other school and my tuition would go up, um, that one is super school specific though. Yeah. Uh, so going onto the next question, how important is it to play an instrument for four years of high school? I’m in 10th grade and thinking of quitting violin, but many people advise me that I should continue.

Yeah. So I’ll intro answer this in kind of a brighter context of, you know, just continuing an activity for. All through high school. Um, I [00:55:00] think generally speaking people, uh, college advi, uh, admission offices, like to see, um, that you’ve committed to something that you have, you know, consistent, um, experience, maybe some growth within that specific area.

Um, you know, it’s but, um, if you don’t like something it’s okay. To, to not do it anymore and maybe replace it with something else. You know, if it’s, it’s something that, you know, you’ve done for a long time, and there’s something else that you would want to try that you don’t have time to because you’re doing this that’s okay too.

That’s the whole point of what we’re talking about. True too. If you think about it with the choosing your academic major, if you want to try something different, explore, you know, that’s perfectly fine. I think ultimately emission officers are looking for experiences on what you’ve done. That you’ve done something.

Um, I think doing again, adding, you know, five different things fall of your senior year is typically not the way to [00:56:00] go about it. Um, but I think that if you want to try something new, um, that’s perfectly fine. You know, and, and, uh, you know, whether that’s playing the violin or playing a sport or, um, you know, uh, doing any other club or activity or hobby, um, it’s always okay to try new things, uh, going on to the next question.

Um, what do you advise or encourage students and their parents to do while they’re in high school in order to help them with picking a major program? Yeah, so, I mean, I think other than doing, again, those deep reflections, um, of, you know, what they’re interested in on, you know, I think that, uh, Where a high school curriculum allows without while still maintaining, you know, your core curriculum, um, you know, exploring additional academic opportunities can be, you know, okay.

Um, [00:57:00] typically most high school students will have, you know, one or two electives that they can take on. And, you know, so I think of myself, I took, you know, a comparative politics class. I took a European history class. Um, I took a contemporary law class, you know, in high school, um, that I found interesting.

Um, now I think it’s still extremely important, um, to maintain your core academic solids, um, and not all of a sudden, you know, change your academic solids to just electives on, but, um, adding and supplementing, I think is good. Um, again, I think. Doing academic work on your own and pursuing your own interests, reading, um, you know, watching instructional videos and things of that.

I mean, there’s so much, you know, this is kind of a dangerous rabbit hole, right. But there’s a lot on the internet obviously, and you can find a lot of different things, you know, you can do TedTalks, masterclasses, whatever the case may be. Um, you [00:58:00] can take college classes, um, for free, you know, in a lot of places online on, in MOOCs, on, you know, uh, all kinds of different things.

Um, you know, and, and so, uh, there’s a lot of different things that you can, uh, follow your passions and kind of learn more. And that might strike an interest in an academic field. Like. Definitely. And then, um, also like if you’re interested or your students interested in like a stem pre-med or like an econ more math related major, I D I recommend take, I encouraging them to take the highest level of math available at their school.

Cause a lot of programs, especially like the stem or your top schools, like Georgia tech or the IVs are going to look for them to take, um, the highest, one of the highest levels of calculus, maybe even physics or certain AP classes or IB. Um, so I definitely recommend that if that’s something they’re interested in doing, just to help with ensuring that they have [00:59:00] all the requirements, I co-sign that like a hundred times over, uh, going on to the next question.

Um, there’s a niche question, um, in the chat, if you want it to answer that, um, yeah. So, yeah, it was a question about, um, having an interest in following the stock market, um, and you know, kind of pursuing that in college. I mean, I think, you know, uh, pursuing finance or, you know, uh, business, uh, track on would definitely lead, uh, towards that.

Um, you know, I know that there are a variety of different schools that have, um, you know, clubs where you can, um, you know, participate in trading and, and, uh, you know, uh, or do it on your own. Um, and so there’s a lot of different ways that, um, students can continue to study, you know, the stock market and finances, um, you know, while they’re in school, after.

Uh, so just to wrap this [01:00:00] up, um, and, uh, so the question is how do schools go about admitting students? This is a very broad question, but like when new programs are added to schools, that one may be a bit easier to get into I’ve heard, or then also a lot of students are applying to a program, like say psychology.

Um, it may be harder to get into that one. Do you have any insider admissions? Um, for that? Yeah, so, I mean, I alluded to this a little bit earlier in terms of like, I think it’s a poor academic strategy to pick, you know, one specific program. Um, you know, but, um, there is some truth to. Th th the numbers piece, right.

Um, and strict numbers at the end of the day, you can only have so many people, um, in, in a specific program or a specific class. Um, and that’s true across the entire board, right? There’s only so many people that they want to enroll in the entire, uh, first year, uh, class. Um, and so it is a little bit [01:01:00] of a numbers game sometimes.

Um, but it is very hard. Um, if you are an outsider to predict what that numbers game is going to be from a day to day. Um, and, you know, even in the six years that I worked at BU some of our top majors change from year to year, um, and so one year one program was really competitive, not so much the following year, but another program, you know, jumped up in a competition.

So, um, there’s a lot of different things that can sway it. Um, and, uh, I think talking to your mission. Directors at the school or college, um, is always a good choice. I am a big believer as a former admission officer. I wanted people to email me. I wanted people to call me. I wanted people to come to my table at a college fair or at a high school visit or at an information session on and ask me questions.

That was my job. That was what I was paid and enjoyed to do on, you know, so [01:02:00] definitely take advantage of those folks. They are the experts in the field. They are the ones that are going to be making the decision. And so, um, ask, ask their opinions. Um, and so, uh, definitely reach out to your, your college, um, directors, your admissions directors at the school.

Definitely and our webinar is coming to a close. So is there any last tips or advice that you want to give? Yeah, I mean, I kind of gave some of it earlier, um, in kind of, you know, being supportive and running your own race. Um, I think that, uh, ultimately, uh, it can be a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be, um, it can be really fun to, um, truthfully I think, um, it’s an exciting time in, in your lives as parents in your son and daughter’s lives.

Um, and so good luck. Um, you know, we’re here to assist at CollegeAdvisor, if you are interested on, and again, take advantage of the [01:03:00] resources that are out there, your school, uh, your school counselors at your high school, um, your college, uh, admissions directors at the colleges and universities you’re applying to, um, and utilize those resources there, go to the source of the information they have, uh, the best facts and facts.

Definitely. So that is the end of our webinar. Thank you everyone for coming out tonight and thank you to our panelists. Um, so we had a really great time telling you about, um, picking a major or helping your student pick on major. And here’s the rest of our April series, where we’ll be talking about increasing your admissions odds, um, and check out our other webinars.

We do have more webinars on programs like IB or AP classes. Um, what sort of, um, activities and extracurriculars your students could or should be doing, uh, in high school or the summer to increase their admissions thoughts. And we do have other webinars just for parents on topics that you may be interested in.

So please do check those out. Uh, thank you. And goodnight.[01:04:00]