Welcome, parents, family members, and supporters!
We acknowledge the vital role you play in your student’s academic career, and on this page, we have information to help explain why students are undeclared, how to support your student through their major exploration process, and resources available across campus.
Understanding Why Students are Undeclared
Did you know that in 1990, the University of Arizona had about 100 majors? Within 30 years, that number has now more than doubled to 280 unique majors! Majors have evolved over time, and this evolution creates some potential challenges, but also great potential, for students entering college now.
Whether you attended college yourself or this college journey is a first for your student and family, a lot of assumptions can be made about the college major. Many of the thoughts surrounding college majors have formed over time. To understand why students are Undeclared, we put together some key points in college history that help conceptualize the current college major.
Supporting Your Student with Major Exploration
Parents, family members, and supporters, you play a key role in your student’s success! The best way to support them in their major exploration process is to be aware of important information that you can share with them and to understand what they are going through as students. Many times, your student wants to make you feel proud of them in their major selection, and being open and supportive in the process will help in having open and in-depth conversations with your student.
Common Thoughts on College Majors
As advisors in The A Center, we hear many common thoughts from parents regarding college majors and major exploration. Here are a few we hear most often and how to support your students when they themselves are having these thoughts:
Fact: Nearly 75% of people work in fields outside of their college major (Inside Higher Ed, 2019)
Support Your Student: Let them know that any of the University of Arizona’s 280+ majors can lead to a broad skillset and a wide range of career possibilities
Fact: On average, people have 12 different jobs over their working life and change jobs every 4 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019)
Support Your Student: Let them know that the era of people working the same job for 30-40 years is a thing of the past. Help them focus on NEXT rather than FOREVER.
Fact: Up to 75% of students nationally and 50% of students at the University of Arizona change their major at least once
Support Your Student: Let them know that being Undeclared/Undecided is perfectly OK and that there are thousands of Undeclared/Undecided/major changing students every year at the UAZ.
Fact: Most students focus their first 2-3 semesters on fulfilling General Education requirements and the majority of majors can be completed during a student’s junior/senior year.
Support Your Student: Encourage them to take General Education courses in areas of interest to help them explore possibilities and encourage them to meet with their academic advisor each semester.
Fact: While occasionally students follow a similar path to their parents, many times they do not. Students often have different interests and strengths than their parents and being directed towards majors that don’t fit with a student’s strengths and interests negatively impacts their happiness and success.
Support Your Student: Encourage your student to create their own path rather than trying to fit someone else’s mold. Recognize the unique strengths and interests that your student possesses and share that with them.
Resources for Parents, Families, and Supporters
The A Center and University of Arizona provide numerous avenues for you to stay involved while helping your student on their college journey. Here are some resources we recommend:
- Social Media: Follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram (@uaz_acenter)
- Newsletter: Subscribe to our weekly newsletter which is sent to all students in The A Center. Email us with a request to be added, if you’d like to receive these weekly messages, too: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Parent and Family Programs: Join UArizona’s one-stop-shop for parents and families!
- The A Center Student Support page also has more information about campus resources available to students.