Appalachian students have ‘journey’ year before declaring major

Over the summer, the university’s Director of Academic Advising Lynne Waugh and other university officials formed an informal committee to look at issues with declaration.

The committee will conclude their findings this fall, Waugh said.

The committee was formed this summer to specifically look into major declaration issues specifically with programs that have admissions requirements before students can be admitted, she said.

“We were looking at this and looking at how other schools handle these issues,” Waugh said.

Some schools permitted students to declare their majors when they had orientation, she said, but members of the committee felt that students wouldn’t be “equipped” by that time.

“We give them a deciding period,” she said.

Currently, students must have 30 credit hours before they can declare a major.

“We feel we don’t want to change that,” Waugh said.

Since Waugh arrived to Appalachian in 2000, the 30 hour minimum policy has remained the same.

“It kind of give students time to explore and talk to faculty and students,” Waugh said. “We see it as a real process and journey.”

Students have access to talk to professors, deans and associate deans, which is why Waugh said she thinks the system Appalachian has now works.

At 60 hours, students are required to declare their major. Transfer students who come in with 60 or more hours have a semester to wait before they have to declare.

If student with 60 hours or more and haven’t declared, they are assigned a University College adviser, Waugh said.

At Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, students with 60 credit hours must declare a major, said Carol Eigenbrot, interim director of Academic Advising at Rowan University.

Rowan, one of Appalachian’s peer institutions, does not have a minimum credit hour requirement before declaring a major, Eigenbrot said. Though some programs have their own restrictions.

Eigenbrot said the current system helps students work their way to graduating by four years.

“I think our system works fairly well,” she said.

At St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., Berat Merrill, undergraduate academic advisor, said the major declaration system they offer provides students with flexibility.

“It allows students versability,” Merrill said. “They have the flexibility to change their mind and find their strong suits.”

The number of hours to declare a major varies for the programs, Merrill said. Programs also vary in grade-point average requirements.

The maximum number of hours before students are required to declare is 80, she said.


Story: KELLI STRAKA, News Editor