As a bona fide Rice student, you are now prepared to fully reap the benefits and opportunities that Rice offers. To begin your sophomore year, you are encouraged to re-evaluate your academic plan. Ask yourself the following questions: What were the courses that I enjoyed the most? What careers am I starting to really consider, and what areas of study would pave the way? What is a reasonable course load for me? What degree requirements do I have left to complete? Knowing the answers to all these questions should not be immediate. Take time to talk to your professors, academic advisors, and your peers as well as the Major Advisors in the areas of study that you are considering.
All students are required to declare a major in the second semester of sophomore year. We encourage students to declare early, if you are confident in your intended major selection. Declaring early will enable you to begin building relationships with the faculty in your major department and learn about opportunities to explore the discipline outside of the classroom. For others that are unsure about their major, it is important to reflect, explore, get advice, and come to a thoughtful decision that best represents your academic interests and future goals. Below are some steps you can take to decide on a major:
- Familiarize yourself with the majors offered at Rice by reviewing the list of undergraduate majors. Almost every department and program has its own website. Visit these websites to learn more about the majors offered.
- Take introductory courses as they are a great way to experiment with areas of interest to you.
- Speak with Major Advisors, students, or instructors you currently are engaged with in classes that align with majors of interest. These individuals possess intimate knowledge of the course curriculum, co-curricular opportunities, and broader scope of the field. Your peers can also provide an insider view. Ask them what drew them to the major, what their future plans are, and what opportunities exist outside of the classroom.
- Visit the Center for Career Development and take the personality and career assessments offered (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory). They will also help you explore what you can do with specific majors.
- Consider clubs, organizations, research, or internships that push you out of your comfort zone and help you develop your professional skills.
- Reviewing academic journals, attending an academic conference, or subscribing to department mailing lists or OWL-Space accounts can provide you with information on cutting edge research and the future directions of certain fields. You never know when something might spark your interest.