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UMass Majors Fair to be held Wednesday

DanielleAugeri (2) MAJORS1The annual University of Massachusetts Majors Fair will take place Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium. In the past, the fair has been an informal gathering for interested students to meet with professionals representing a comprehensive span of the many academic concentrations available to UMass students.

Representatives from all majors, except Theater and East European Studies, will be present to answer student questions about majors, minors and how to have an interesting and valuable experience at UMass. Representatives from organizations including Career Services, Study Abroad/ International Program Office (IPO), Bilingual Collegiate Program and Residential Academic Programs will attend to advertise their services to students.

UMass’ many academic departments will be grouped by similar concentrations to make navigating the fair easier. The configuration of the fair is intended to help students to investigate related concentrations that might work well as a minor or certificate with an already declared major.

Tamatha Gaumnitz, an undergraduate advisor and primary coordinator of the fair, said the layout of departments was designed to facilitate the process of exploring.

“If you think you’re interested in something in, say, the social and behavioral sciences, it might be a good idea to check out the other departments in that grouping, to find out if there’s something else you like,” said Gumnitz. “If you already have a major in the sciences but you also have a creative side, you might want to walk over to the humanities and fine arts area and see if something works with what you have to make it more well-rounded experience.”

Undergraduate advisor Tonya Blundon, a coordinator of the Majors Fair, said the Fair offers a chance to meet with advisors and program directors that are normally spread out across the large UMass campus.

“This is a large university and there are so many great resources and contacts available to students, but they’re in all different places, all over campus,” said Blundon. “They all have different hours and it can be a very intimidating experience to seek out these people.”

While most of the attending programs are academic concentrations, there are valuable auxiliary programs to help students navigate their college experience, like Career Services, Continuing & Professional Education, Domestic/Five College Exchange.

Commonwealth College’s Cory Pols, Director of Advising and Student Program will be available to answer questions about honors programs, requirements and opportunities.

Access to virtually all of the University’s available academic resources makes the Majors Fair particularly useful to first year students who can survey the school’s options in one fell swoop. Undecided students might gain insight and clarity in matching their interests to a particular major by attending the event. Blundon said the Majors Fair is so comprehensive that any student could have a chance of gaining something for their academic careers.

“Even if students think they’re sure about what they want to study, [they] could benefit just from walking around the room, because you can discover about so many departments you may have never heard of, maybe pick up a minor,” Blundon said. “It’s a great opportunity for anyone no matter how decided they may be.”

Undergraduate Advising reports an estimate of 1,200 students attending last year’s two hour Fair. Advising suggests being prepared for the crowds by checking out its website, which features a detailed map of the fair layout, and a set of questions designed to help figure out what students would like to get out of the experience.

Michael Toomey can be reached at mjtoomey@student.umass.edu.

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