Double Majoring: The Pros & Cons

By: David

I see that you’ve decided to tune back in with the topic of double majoring. In the last blog post I had mentioned that I’ll be talking about the pros and cons of double majoring. As you may already know I am currently a double major in Communication and Psychology and it’s been quite the journey. To start off, I’ll be talking about the cons first and then I’ll transition into the pros from there.

The Cons

The biggest concern students have when they think about double majoring is the workload and time commitment. One major itself already requires a lot of work and time commitment, but having to double that may seem a bit overwhelming. My suggestion would be to balance out your workload and time for both subject evenly. For me personally, I try my best to balance out my coursework for both majors throughout my semesters. This semester I am currently taking two Communication courses and one Psychology course and for next semester I plan to switch it around by taking two Psychology courses and one Communication course.

To be honest, double majoring requires a lot of work and effort. Now that I am in my upper divisions for both majors I have to read and work harder than ever! If you are contemplating if you should double major or not just keep in mind of the work that you’ll have to put in. In addition, it also really depends on what you’re going for as well. Some majors require more credit hours than others, therefore it may be quite difficult to add a second major.

The amount of time that you’ll have to put in for two different degrees will be quite mind boggling. Considering that you have a part-time job, clubs, sports, a social life,  you will have A LOT to balance by adding a second major. This is my first semester having to juggle all of that and so far it’s been quite rough, but I’m getting by. Balancing your time between two different degrees may prove to be difficult, but possible. Some students choose to cram all their credits into their entire four years while others tend to spread their classes more evenly and stay an extra semester or two. I myself already plan on staying for an extra year to finish my two degrees. I figure, what’s the rush? Might as well enjoy college while you can, right?

Anyways, the main thing that you’ll have to worry about when it comes to double majoring is the time commitment and hard work that you’ll have to put in for two degrees, but as we transition into the next section you’ll realize that it actually becomes quite beneficial after graduation.

The Pros

Despite the work and time that you’ll have to put in, you’ll soon realize that having two degrees can actually be quite beneficial and has its perks. By having two degrees on your resume, that itself already makes you much more marketable. Also, it shows that you were dedicated to take the extra step to complete two degrees versus completing one major and one minor. Lastly, it gives you the chance of going into several different fields after graduation.

After graduation, you’ll want to market yourself as best you can and having two degrees can really help with that in various ways. As I had mention in the previous paragraph it really shows that you are dedicated and determined to put in that extra work for the second degree. Just listing two degrees in your resume can be very beneficial in the sense that it demonstrates your work ethic.  I know I had mention in the previous section that the work required for two degrees might be overwhelming, but like the good ol’ saying goes, “the price of success is hard work”.

Along the lines of being more marketable, you’ll always have the chance of going into several fields with two degrees. Within one degree, the subfields that come along with it are numerous and having two degrees only doubles your opportunities for success. For example, within my Communication degree I can go into business, mass media communication, higher education, and various different fields. With my Psychology degree I can go into counseling, social work, education, and many various fields as well. In the end, if you don’t like a certain occupation or field you always have the chance to go into different fields within your degrees.

To conclude, double majoring is a tough process to get through, but definitely worth it in the end. Do consider the work, time, and effort that you’ll be required to put in, but also consider the benefits, perks, and pros to double majoring as well. Whether you’re considering or contemplating you should double major or not, I hope this blog post has helped you just a bit in your thought and planning process. In the end, double majoring isn’t for everybody and that’s totally fine! Do and stick with what you’re most comfortable with even it means just sticking with one major. Farewell and safe travels to you all fellow readers. Stay gold and keep it classy!

Read David’s other posts

When Grad School is for You – Just Not Right Now

By: Meg

I’m graduating soon, and with that comes a lot of thoughts about the future. I’m going into Social Work, so while I know grad school is going to happen, I’m not ready to apply yet. Even though you might not be filling out applications with your fellow grad school bound classmates, there are still some ways to prepare for it.

Grad School not right now

Research

Look at the programs that you’re thinking of applying to: check the website, talk to current and past students, and talk to professors if you can. You want to learn what they’re looking for in a student. This could affect your job choice in the interim. If your programs are looking for specific experience, you should know that now.

GRE

A lot of grad schools require GRE scores, and some of them require subject tests. Your GRE scores are good for 5 years after you take them. If you’re planning on applying to grad school within that time period, it might be a good idea to do this testing while you’re still in school mode. It also gives you a definitive deadline for when you’re going to apply.

References

Grad schools LOVE reference letters. Take a look into the grad schools you think you’ll apply for. Chances are they want 2 or 3. When you’re out in the workforce, you’ll want to make a good impression on your supervisors. Now, however, is a good time to get a reference letter from a professor or advisor who you think would help your application. Ask them if they feel like they could write you a (good) letter, and keep it on file. Keep in contact with this professors or advisors once you are done with undergrad. Let them know what you’re doing and where you are in the process when you finally get to applying to grad school. At that point you may want (or need) to get an updated letter or reference form – you want your UMD contacts to still be a good reference for you.

Deadlines

Set some deadlines for yourself. Tell yourself that you want to apply in 3, 4, or however many years. Then prepare for that. Don’t commit to a job that isn’t going to go anywhere for 4 years when you’re planning on leaving in 2. This isn’t set in stone, and if, while you’re out in the world, you decide you don’t need (or want) to go back to school, then no harm done.

One of the best ways to prepare for grad school while you’re not in college is to get out of school mode. Grad school is intense, no matter what the program is. So while you’re taking time off, get some experience out in the world. Whether that means working a “big person” job, or taking some time off and traveling, just do it.

Of Possible Interest:

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Finding a Career in Student Affairs

By: Ellen (Career Counselor & Guest Poster)

I started my career in Student Affairs technically when I was a freshman in college. I got a work study job in the career office on my campus.

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “What is Student Affairs?” Well, “Student Affairs” means working in one of many departments on a college campus that are not strictly teaching in a classroom. I was one of those people who decided they never wanted to leave college. Then, I left the college environment after undergrad to work out in the “real world” and desperately wanted back into the college environment the entire time. Student Affairs means: freshman orientation, academic advising, admissions, student union/center, residence life & housing, career services, study abroad, cultural diversity, student involvement, leadership, conduct, disability resources, rec sports, and other similar departments. We educate you outside classroom. We help you see how to apply your in-class education to the real world. We help you invest in the tradition of your university. We provide meaningful opportunities to learn and grow. We challenge you. We help you have fun. We help when you have problems.

We help you see the possibilities.

ACPA CSAM14

October is Careers in Student Affairs month. It’s our chance to show you how great a career in higher education can be. Often times, people do not start off college with the career goal of being an academic advisor, greek life coordinator, career counselor, or vice chancellor. These are career ideas that come later in your college experience, usually after some great experience you’ve had through a student affairs department. I feel like I’m not describing this very well, but this round-about path is usually how people end up in students affairs and higher education. As a college freshman, could I have predicted that I’d grow up to be a career counselor who does social media, supervises student employees, and is dabbling in assessment? No. I couldn’t have even predicted that combo while I was in graduate school…or even in the first year of my professional career as a career counselor.

In Student Affairs, experience is your golden ticket. If you’re interested in working with college-aged students and being on a college campus, try out as many departments as you can. See what strikes your interest the most and what you really would like to stay away from. It may take a while to figure it all out. Like I said earlier, I started working my college’s career office as a freshman. It took me until the middle of senior year to realize that I wanted to be a career counselor. Here are some ways at UMD that you can try out working in and experiencing Student Affairs. This is not an exhaustive list, and it’s a good place to start. (Note: most of these positions you can find listed on UMD’s HR website or contact the department to get more information.)

Professional organizations are another great way to get involved with and learn about the profession as an undergraduate. The two governing organizations for Students Affairs are: ACPA – College Student Educators International and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NAPSA). Check out these organizations, and the functional area ones listed below for more information. These are the national level organizations. There are also state and regional levels to these organizations. The state and regional levels might be easier (and less expensive) to get involved in as an undergrad.

  • NODA: National Orientation Directors Association
  • NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation
  • ACUHO-i: Association of College and University Housing Officers – International
  • NACA: National Association of Campus Activities
  • ACUI: Association of College Unions International
  • NCDA: National Career Development Association
  • NACE: National Association of Colleges and Employers
  • NACADA: National Association of Academic Advising

The Minnesota College Personnel Association is hosting a Careers in Students Affairs event on November 22nd at Hamline University. Attend sessions by professionals (I did one a few years ago about using Twitter to connect with SA professionals), get information about different grad school programs, have your resume reviewed, and connect with other undergrads interested in going into Student Affairs and Higher Education.

Something to keep in mind – work in Student Affairs will almost always require at least a Masters Degree. Your two main options will be Student Affairs/Higher Education Leadership (like these programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato or University of St. Thomas) or Counselor Education with an emphasis in Higher Education (like these programs at UW-Whitewater or St. Cloud State). If you have questions about grad school or finding experiences to best prepare yourself for getting in, make an appointment with one of the career counselors in our office.

For even more information, I recommend checking out the Student Affairs Collaborative. It’s a blog with fantastic posts by people who work in all areas of higher education. You can also check out Student Affairs Alltop for a listing of Student Affairs related bloggers and the #CSAM14 hashtag on Twitter.

I am the giver of information. Can you tell? ;)

If you are interested in Student Affairs and working in higher education, feel free to make an appointment with me, or any other of the career counselors in the office, and we can direct you a variety of people on-campus who can share their knowledge of the world of higher education.

Meet Sadie

Sadie F14Name: Sadie

Major & Minor: Social Work with a minor in Psychology

When you started working at UMD Career & Internship Services: I started working at Career & Internship Services my spring semester of 2014!

Favorite place in Duluth: My favorite place in Duluth is Canal Park. I love walking down by the lake and going to all of the little shops.

Favorite hobby or something else about yourself you’d like to share: I love to spend time with my friends and family, spend time outside, and experience new things & meet new people.

Best career advice you’ve received: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Piece of career advice you have for other students: Don’t settle for a job/major you aren’t passionate about.

Anything else you want to add: Take risks, travel, explore, and meet new people. Live the life you were given.

Meet Willow

WillowName: Willow

Major: Double major, Political Science and Environmental and Outdoor Education and Recreation and a Dance minor.

Year in School: Sophomore

Length of time worked at UMD Career and Internship Services: Since February of 2014

Favorite place in Duluth: Leif Erickson Park, I have so many great memories of going there as a kid and playing in the water and skipping rocks.

Best Career advice I’ve been given: Find something you love so much you’d do it for free, but you’re so good at it you get paid.

Career advice for other students: If it doesn’t make you happy, it’s not worth it.

Other: I am currently taking temporary hiatus from school to work for a political action committee in Des Moines, IA. I work for iVote for America, which helps to increase voting rights in swing states. My job consists of a little bit of everything. I plan and host events, recruit volunteers, contact voters, fundraise, and constantly publicize iVote on social media in order to get a strong base of support in Iowa.

3 Tips for Career Fair Conversation

By: Glen

When I signed up to work at a career fair, I had no idea what my responsibilities would be. I showed up, and was told to stand by the main parking lot where recruiters would arrive. Quickly, I found I was in an advantageous spot. A number of recruiting teams who passed by me did not have a parking permit in their vehicle. One of the two (or three) recruiters would drop their stuff and walk back to the car to place the permit I gave them into their vehicle. This left me one-on-one with recruiters in the parking lot. After talking to a few recruiters, a conversation format became clear. Note: The exact order of the conversation may be different if you are looking at a specific position at a company that is hiring at the time of the career fair.

3 tips for Career Fair

Know Your Purpose

The most important piece of your conversation is going to be your purpose. Why are you at the career fair? What employment opportunities are you looking for? When will you be available to start? If you can answer these questions, you are on the right path. Somehow, the answers to those questions should be incorporated into how you introduce yourself.

Explain Your Interest

Once you have tackled the first piece of your introduction, you need to be able to explain why you are interested in the opportunities you are. Give your background. Specific experiences in class or work can provide reasons for pursuing a certain position type. Here is a template example of how to word this kind of statement, “I have experience as a(n) ________ for ________. This has sparked my interest in positions such as ________.”

Ask About Opportunities

You have introduced yourself and your interests, now you get to ask the recruiter some questions. An important note needs to be made here: Do not ask, “Are you hiring people like ________ at the moment?” or, “Do you have openings for ________ right now?” These questions are worded in such a way that make the asker sound desperate and uniformed. First, if you are looking for an internship or a job to start soon, you should research to see if there are any openings.

Instead, try to word your questions about jobs in such a way that make you sound interested in conversation. If you are looking for a job right now (and you know the company is hiring) here is an example template to work with, “I am looking at the ________ position. I was wondering if I could ask you what important qualities you are looking for in hiring the ________ position?” This question states your purpose and starts a conversation that can build a relationship with the recruiter. Note: You may have to reorder your speech to have this be the end piece of your introduction and have the conversation flow.

If you are looking for future employment, questions are a bit easier and less pressured. You can ask things like, “I am looking at positions such as ________. Do you know if opportunities for new ________s will open up sometime in the near future?” or, “Do you know if a person could job shadow the ________ position to get a feel for what the job will be like in the future?” or, “What job activities does the ________ position have at your company?” Recruiters love students who come forward with engaging questions.

By following the general guidelines suggested above, you might find yourself having engrossing conversation with recruiters. I have walked out of the last two job fairs having talked to seven different employers for 5-10 minutes each. Knowing how to state my goals and ask the recruiters questions are the main reason for my success.

Of Possible Interest:

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Words to Use on a Teaching Resume Other Than “Taught”

By: Whitney

As a teaching major, I know it can be very easy to get stuck on words such as taught, created, and graded when writing your resume. While it is great to show you have teaching experience you don’t want to sound like you are saying the same thing over and over again. By mixing up the verbs you use, you may give yourself better chances on landing an interview at the school district you want to work for. The following are verbs that might be a nice change for your resume and how you could use them on your resume.

  • Adapted- As teachers or teacher candidates we are always adapting lessons for students with special needs, adapting to our surroundings, or changing plans on the fly to fit with students’ needs for the day.
  • Administered- Rather than saying you passed out a test or observed a test being given, it sounds more professional to say you administered the test.
  • Aided- No matter what classroom you are in there are always going to be students who need help. Rather than just using help or helped, aided is a good alternative to show the same thoughts in a non-repetitive way.
  • Anticipated- Any teacher is always anticipating needs of students or anticipating what changes might need to be made in order to make the lesson run more smoothly. Highlighting this fact is very important especially if you can give a concrete example.
  • Assessed- Assessment is very important in teaching today. Every lesson must have an assessment to go along with it so the teacher knows what the student is learning. If you are the one creating this assessment, then having that be a buzzword is very appropriate!
  • Collaborated- Whenever you are in a classroom with a cooperating teacher, you are likely collaborating with them on what the focus of the lesson should be and how you can best work with the students. Showing you have these collaboration skills is very valuable to future employers whether it is in the education field or beyond.
  • Collected/Tracked – Data collection is also very important. I know I didn’t realize how much data was kept on each student and just how important this data is in the education world. Showing you have experience with this through collecting data for something like an intervention would be something that could give you an extra edge.
  • Co-Taught- Co-teaching is a newer phenomenon that has hit the education field. More classes are starting to be co-taught. When you are in a classroom working with a cooperating teacher you are likely demonstrating a form of co-teaching.
  • Designed- Designed is a less boring way of saying created. It is a good word to use if you want to sound more professional without changing the meaning of the word.
  • Developed- Again, developed is a good word to use to describe lessons you planned or a curriculum-based measure created for a student to either increase or decrease a behavior by implementing an intervention.

Action Verbs Teaching

  • Empowered- This is a very powerful word that I love! You can empower students by giving them choice or by allowing them to feel like their thoughts and opinions are heard and taken into account.
  • Encouraged- Teachers often do not think about how much of their day is spent encouraging students to do their best work or for that matter start their work at all. Stating how you encourage students shows how you connect with students, which is very important in the teaching world.
  • Engaged- In order for students to learn, they must be engaged. Many people call this the hook of the lesson. This does not have to be a long, lengthy description, but I think it is always good to note you are striving to engage students in each lesson you plan.
  • Evaluated- Teachers while reviewing lesson plans or searching for new ones online are constantly evaluating or judging the value or the quality of the plan. Showing you are thinking critically about lessons before teaching them is necessary.
  • Increased/Decreased/Reduced- When implementing an intervention, a teacher is trying to either increase or reduce a target behavior. If you have ever done an intervention where this is true, this is a great skill to add to your resume.
  • Implemented- If you have ever implemented an intervention with a student this is a great thing to put on your resume. Many schools are using more interventions in order to keep students in the general education classroom for as much time as possible. Showing you have these skills might just land you an interview!
  • Managed- School districts want to know what you know about management techniques because it is so difficult. If you know about various management techniques and how to use them effectively in the classroom, the school district wants to know. If you have put a management plan into place then this is even better! If you are listing this under one grade you taught then it may be helpful to list how many students were in the class.
  • Modeled- Modeling the behavior or the task you want to have done will help cause less confusion in the classroom and also help to manage a classroom. Showing you value modeling behavior you want to see also shows management techniques and also effective teaching techniques.
  • Motivated- It can sometimes be difficult to motivate students to complete a task. If you have students who are challenging, showing how you motivated them to complete a task shows how you connect with students.
  • Reflected- Reflection is a big part of teaching that we tend to do without thinking about. For the EdTPA it is very important that teachers are reflecting on their lessons. It would be very valuable for a district to know you are reflecting on your lessons and evaluating what worked and what didn’t.

Of Possible Interest:

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