Guide helps students plan for future, choose major

By Joseph M. Molina
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 19, 1996

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Susan Steele associate vice provost for undergraduate education


The Office of Undergraduate Education has assembled a book called The University of Arizona Guide designed for freshman having difficulty choosing a major.

About two years ago, Provost Paul Sypherd thought a handbook was needed that would grab the students' attention, said Susan Steele, associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

"This catalog is aimed at students interested in college and would help them make the decision if they would like to attend this campus," Steele said.

She said the guide is trying to present students academic information in a form that can be easily understood.

The cost to produce the book was minimal, and Steele said mostly, the University of Arizona's existing resources were used.

The costs included hiring a designer and printing the guide, Steele said. She said the project cost the university about $50,000 for the 30,000 copies that were made.

Sharon Aiken-Wisniewski, freshman academic specialist for the College of Arts and Sciences, said in helping freshmen chose a major, there are three main criteria. First, the person must know what he wants. Second, the student must get to know the major. And finally, the student needs to know what kind of career awaits him with a certain major.

The guide would be most helpful in the second area by showing the students what majors are offered, Aiken-Wisniewski said. Also, she said the guide will show students that other majors are available that they might otherwise not know about.

"The main thing is information, and (the guide) gives them the information they need," Aiken-Wisniewski said.

Steele said, "This is an experimental document. We will wait to see the response from the campus community to see if it will be continued next year."

The book has been given to high school guidance counselors and UA advisers, Steele said. She said the book was also distributed at focus groups for incoming freshmen and at workshops for Arizona high school counselors.

It is also available at both the UA Associated Students Bookstore and the Arizona Bookstore for $5.

"This is great. I've never seen it," said Kimberly Gunn, higher education graduate student and adviser at the Academic Center for Exploratory Students.

The freshman center does not have the book, but Gunn said the UA usually gives the center such materials. She said the reason the center may not have the book is because the center just opened Aug. 22.

Steele said what type of high school preparation a student needs for a certain major is included in the guide. She said some other features are costs to attend the UA, admission requirements and some campus history.

"Parents and students have given positive responses and agree that the book is very useful," Steele said.

About 50 percent of the freshmen class has not declared a major, she said. She said freshman can go through the catalog to look for information, but it is not easy to find.

Steele said the guide makes it easier for students look up information.

When Mark Frieberg, wildlife and fisheries sciences freshman, was shown the book, he asked, "Where can I get one? It could really be helpful."

Wesley Noonan, undeclared freshman, said, "I would like to have it. It's easy to look at and read."