Freshmen to use fair as road map for college

For many NKU students, the process of finding out what they want to do with their life is one of the toughest decisions they will ever make. However, one event that can help out with their decision is the annual Major Fair.

The Major Fair will be held Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom. The Major Fair began in 1998 as an outlet for students enrolled in University 101 to explore what prospective majors had to offer. In the beginning, participation from faculty and students were minimal. Now it has turned into a smorgasbord of information that drew almost 700 students in 2005.

“The Major Fair is a great opportunity to learn about multiple fields of study, as well as learn about things that may not have originally stood out as a career. It’s a great chance to do some networking and practice your interview skills, as you will be talking to experts from the field,” said Nicole Wallpe, a freshman psychology major.

Peg Adams, assistant director of First Year Programs and co-chair of the Major Fair, works with the Career and Development Center, the Academic Advising Resource Center (AARC) and advising centers within each school or college to ensure every major is invited to represent their program. “The Major Fair gives students the opportunity to explore several career options in one place,” Adams said.

Informational booths are set up and occupied by a faculty member or representative from each program. Here students receive answers to burning questions that are outlined on the Major Fair preparation sheet, from “What careers are available with this major?” to “Are there internship or co-op opportunities available with this major?” and even “What minor would complement this major?”

For students new to Northern Kentucky University, this is also an opportune time to get to know professors and discover everything that NKU has to offer.

“Interacting directly with professors can be overwhelming for new students,” said Jennie LaMothe, coordinator and lecturer for First Year Programs and co-chair of the Major Fair. “Major Fair provides relative anonymity for students who have not had much experience talking with professors,” LaMothe said. “There is no risk, and come away with so much information.”

Although the Major Fair may seem geared toward freshmen and sophomores, it is beneficial for everyone, according to Adams. “We also have many juniors and seniors attend,” she said. Upperclassmen who have determined their major can inquire about jobs recent graduates have obtained and discuss how to network with others affiliated within their major.

Most importantly, the Major Fair enables students to preserve their most precious resources: time and money. According to Adams, the average NKU student changes his major four times throughout his college career. Promptly choosing a major ensures students do not waste funds on unnecessary classes.

Indecisiveness is also a contributing factor in extending the amount of time it takes for a student to complete their degree. According to Stephanie Baker, research analyst in the Offices of Student Assessment and Retention, the average time it takes a student at NKU to complete a bachelor’s degree is six years.

Although the Major Fair may not provide all the answers, it is a good way to begin the career exploration process, Adams said.

“A student that wants to be a doctor but hates math and science will probably not be happy in pre-med,” LaMothe said. “The Major Fair will help steer students in the right direction.”

Freshman Kyle Rabe is still undecided on his major, but he found last year’s Major Fair very helpful. “Major Fair was a great opportunity for me to see what NKU has to offer. I received a ton of information that broadened my knowledge of the majors I was considering. I was very sad, though, when I found out that NKU does not have an underwear modeling major! I’ll keep my hopes up for it in the future!”