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Ask Edward

Major/Dual Major

I don't know what I want to study!
What should I do with all of these remaining electives?

Dear Edward,

I am a recent transfer student, major undecided, although I plan on applying to the Advertising and Public Relations program. I have 43 credits—mostly, I've been taking my general education requirements—but I still haven't come across anything that interests me, except for French. I feel like I should know what I want to do with my life but I don't.

--Que dois-je faire?

Dear Étudiant,

You should take your initial interest in Advertising & Public Relations (Ad/PR) for what it is worth and apply to the program. This field is one of the fastest growing job markets and will continue to grow with the world population. One benefit of your interest in French is that you will be able to reach beyond the English-speaking world, giving you opportunities for future employment not only in the US and England but in France and certain parts of Canada and Africa.

Your application and acceptance into the Ad/PR program need not be the final choice you make regarding your studies. In fact, given your split interest I would suggest that you take the next year to evaluate both interests very closely. Take your first Ad/PR courses with another French class and a core requirement or two (or an elective or two if you have no requirements left). This will give you the chance to see for yourself what the Ad/PR program is all about while you continue your study of French. The following semester, why don't you go Paris in a Study Abroad program (of course, you will have to check with your Ad/PR advisor to see if you can take a semester leave from the program). And then, near the end of your time in Paris, get a table on the sidewalk at a little bistro, order a cappuccino and a croissant, and think about the past year and what you've learned and what that means for your future.

Fortunately, you are still near the beginning of your studies, but between now and your cappuccino in Paris you will have closed the gap significantly—you will come back from Paris as an upper junior, and by then you will have to know whether you want to continue in the Ad/PR program or switch over into the French program, but, by then, you should have done enough research to make the right decision.



Dear Edward,

I am an upper junior who has already completed my general education and Economics major requirements. Apparently, I still need 32 more credits to meet the 120-credit minimum needed to graduate. That's 11 more courses. What am I supposed to do?

--Eleven Elective Courses?

Dear Eleven,

One of the benefits of a Liberal Arts education is that you get to take a number of classes outside of your major concentration to make you a more well-rounded, worldly citizen. Some students use their elective credits to complete other programs, such as Minors or Dual Majors, others use their elective credits to build up necessary skills in which they are lacking, such as composition or public speaking, while others use these credits to pursue previously unrealized interests. All three methods are perfectly acceptable.

Economics students should take as much Math as possible, also any History courses that might deal with any of the places and time periods you may have dealt with in your Economics curriculum. Economics is a discipline that reaches into every aspect of life and therefore every academic discipline—minors or dual majors that match well with Economics include: Philosophy, Sociology, Math, History, International Relations, and Psychology.

Although you most likely took a FIQWS course, and possibly Writing for the Social Sciences, there are a number of other courses offered by the English department that can help you further improve your writing skills, namely, Prose Writing Workshop and Advanced Grammar, as well as others that you could learn about if you were to meet with an advisor in the English department. Similarly, the Department of Theatre and Speech offers Voice & Diction and Speech for the Stage, in addition to the Speech Foundations course that you have already taken, which will help you get over any stage-fright that you may have.

But even if you take a minor and a couple composition and speech courses, you may still have a few electives left over. Popular elective courses include Acting, Creative Writing, and Foreign Languages, but as an Economics student, you are welcome to take any classes in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as long as you have the necessary prerequisites.

You've done what you had to do—now you get a chance to do what you want to do. My only suggestion is to challenge yourself—there is no real benefit in taking a class because it is easy.