Discussing your student’s major

January 30, 2014

Balistreri,RebeccasmDuring spring semester’s Major Declaration Day, your student will get a formal welcome and introduction into the major they are considering joining. There is time to ask questions and discover what is awaiting your student as they enter their major in the fall. This session will also introduce students to the faculty member from that major who will end up being their advisor throughout their remaining educational career at MIAD. The day ends with dinner, and students officially declaring a major.

What if your son or daughter is unsure of which major to choose? Does selection of a specific course lock them into a major? Is being uncertain about a major normal?

If you student is unsure about which major to register for that day, that is okay. They have plenty of time to make that decision.

During winter break, your student may have begun discussing a choice of major, two majors or one of MIAD’s many minors with you. Al of these discussions are a part of the transition that occurs during your student’s first year. MIAD’s First-Year Experience encourages students to explore their many options, interests and potential. THe First-Year program gives students myriad opportunities to explore media and disciplines. During the fall and spring semesters, many students refine their thoughts about a major, or move to entirely new areas, particularly as a result of the Research, Practice and Methods course.

For the Spring, your student will have selected from among 13 Introduction to Advanced Study (IAS) courses that provide even more customized learning based on their interest in a major.

Students will also have selected one of two courses: Drawing and Image Concepts, or Spacial Concepts. As explained by Vice President of Academic Affairs David Martin, “The courses are taught by faculty who are professional working artists and designers, who are interested in expanding students’ ideas about visual culture across traditional and non-traditional boundaries.”

Being uncertain is normal, and students can certainly change their mind about a major in the spring regardless of which IAS elective they select. It is not uncommon for a freshman to change his or her mind once or twice regarding a major.

Lynn Tomaszewski, Chair of Foundations, has said, “Second semester is when first year students really begin to follow their interests and dig into what excites them. They continue to broaden their knowledge of contemporary art and design, and begin the process of locating their own ideas and abilities relative to what they’re learning about in their respective fields.”

In addition to their coursework, other opportunities will spark your student’s creative and professional formation, including February’s Freshman Professional Symposium. During the symposium, diverse art and design professionals share their portfolios and talk about their work. All freshmen have a chance to meet these professionals – many of them alumni – and to see and discuss first-hand how specific disciplines morph into unique careers.

Major Declaration Day occurs in March. In April, freshmen participate in the college-wide MIAD DEFINE – an opportunity for personal and professional growth through student- and faculty-led discussions and presentations centered around the 2014 Senior Exhibition.

Despite all of these upcoming opportunities, now is a perfect time for you to talk to your student about a chosen major, or the options he or she is considering, and encourage them to take advantage of all the resources available to them.

Students who are undecided about a major should seek advice from their academic advisor, their faculty and advanced-level students in the areas they are considering.

They should also not hesitate to contact MIAD’s Career Services to learn more about professional outcomes and career opportunities, especially because our four-year career program is unique among colleges nationwide.

The most important thing is for your student to be committed to art and design as a professional, creative learning opportunity and career path, and to work through challenges in their development. I know I speak for faculty and staff throughout the college in assuring you that our commitment to your student’s success is unwavering.

Director of College Advising

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