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Majors night highlights academic opportunities

| Friday, January 24, 2014

More than 80 academic departments and several service groups came to South Dining Hall on Thursday night to advertise their programs to undergraduate students.

“Majors night is great because there is a lot of information in one place without having to run around for weeks to gather the same information,” said Joshua Kaplan, Department of Political Science director of undergraduate studies. 

majors night zach llorensZACHARY LLORENS | The Observer

Kaplan said making contact with the undergraduate directors at majors night at least once before declaring your major is critical to understanding what to expect from the courses and opportunities in a particular department.

“A lot of times, students will come in to the office thinking this major sounds good on paper, but they then discover the reality that this was not what they expected,” Kaplan said.

Freshman Daniel Pape, a biology major, said he felt the difference of seeing the directors in person and looking through the different programs’ displays.

“Being able to see all of them in one place and talk to people at the same time rather than just looking on the Internet and getting one-on-one feedback is really nice,” Pape said.

Pape said he was eager to learn more about all the opportunities and majors that are available to him.

“I hope to go to medical school, and I’m asking [the program representatives] what would help with that,” Pape said. “I want to find stuff that I would be interested in overall because I think it is most important to find something that I am interested in, even if it’s not something that is science related.”

The booths set up for each major and department not only allowed students to interact with faculty and student representatives but also let them explore the opportunities within colleges.

“A lot of people don’t realize the breadth and the depth of the offerings that Notre Dame has, especially in the school of Arts and Letters,” said Annie Gilbert Coleman, director of undergraduate studies of the Department of American Studies.

Coleman said the College of Arts and Letters has placed an emphasis on pushing students to develop critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills.

“These kinds of skills will take you wherever you want to go in life,” she said.

Denise DellaRossa, director of undergraduate studies of the Deparment of German and Russian Literatures and Languages, said students who remain undecided after majors night should not worry about selecting a major right away.

“Students need to do what they want to do, not what their parents want them to do,” Della Rossa said. “It’s so cliché to say do your passion, but make sure you do what you can see yourself doing for the next 30 or 40 years of your life.”

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