Undeclared label changing to exploratory

Alexandra ScicchitanoOpinions & Features Editor

Throughtout my entire Southern career so far, the school has identified people without majors as undeclared.

For example, “an undeclared major, Jane Doe, a sophomore said…” The school now has decided to switch the term to exploratory.

I believe this is a big transition that holds little to no benefit to Southern students. The change of undeclared to exploratory does nothing for Southern students and it does not need to be changed to accommodate anyone. No one has complained to the school about the term used for people who have not decided a major.

Exploratory constitutes as a student that is still searching for a major they are interested in pursuing.

On the other hand, undeclared implies that they had not yet chosen a major. Both indicate the same thing – a student not yet declaring a major – but seem to hold two completely different connotations that can be taken in various ways.

I do not really think changing undeclared to exploratory makes a huge difference. Whether it’s pointed out to students or not, those declared as undeclared majors have been exploring their interests way before the term was changed because that is the point of the undeclared major. It ultimately is not a necessary change because, whatever you call it, it is still the same thing.

Undeclared was part of the top five majors of the freshman class entering fall 2018, according to the Fast Fact page on Southern’s website. That means there is a huge population of the now- sophomore class that still do not know what they want to pursue a career in.

Though this change may have been made with the goal of making the term to describe their situation less derogatory, and while being undeclared or exploratory might be
a good thing for some people, it is required for all students to choose a major after two years of being at Southern.

Changing the name to make students more comfortable does not change the fact that
it only describes a temporary and, for some, an anxiety provoking situation. Furthermore, Southern has dedicated links and pages on the school website to helping undeclared students choose their majors.

However, now all those pages need to be updated with the term exploratory. People will need to know to not say undeclared or undeclared and actually instead say exploratory. In conjunction, switching to exploratory will be different not just for the school website, but also for people in administration who have used the word undeclared for many years too.

Moving through the motions of changing the name of a term to something meaning the same thing, does nothing for the students at Southern. There is no explicit goal for the changing of the name to exploratory from undeclared.

In conclusion, I do not believe that the word itself needs to be changed officially. However, word of mouth can do a lot to make change. Perhaps if the administration pushed it more through that forum instead, such as through advisors and inquiry classes, it could be successful that way, but, it does not need to be changed officially.


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