School of Undergraduate Studies prepares students to decide a major before end of sophomore year

Lauren Grobe

Undeclared students who are finishing up their sophomore year this semester have only until April to decide what major to commit to.

The School for Undergraduate Studies, which houses undeclared students, requires that students declare a major after four semesters of being undeclared. Senior academic adviser Jeff Handy said UGS uses this timeframe because it’s similar to the policies other schools within the University use to admit new students.  

Undeclared freshman Akeela Kongdara said she hopes to pick a major to apply for by her sophomore year, but she’s still undecided.

“There’s over 100 majors that UT offers, and there’s some majors that I have never heard of and I’m like, ‘Oh, that actually sounds cool,’” Kongdara said.


Kongdara was accepted to the University but did not get into her first and second choice majors of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.

“Some people think that undeclared students barely get into UT, like they’re just the top six percent at their school and (got in with) automatic admission, but that’s not necessarily the case,” Kongdara said.

Handy said engineering is one of most competitive categories of majors to get into, along with computer science and business. To help broaden students’ horizons, undeclared students are assigned an academic adviser and career counselor to help navigate transfer requirements, Handy said.

“(The counselors) help students at a more foundational level to think about what are the things that they value,” Handy said. “We want students to consider more than just the three main categories of majors that most students apply to out of high school.”

Undeclared freshman Nehla Nafsin said she had “conflicting” experiences with advisers and found a UT career counselor more helpful.

“Each (adviser and counselor) has their own strengths and weaknesses, so you need to know what it is you’re looking for,” Nafsin said.

UGS alumni guide Kayla Frankenstein acts as a representative for the College of Education who undeclared students can use as a resource to learn more about the school.

“We’re like a beacon of resources and putting people where they need to go to figure things out,” special education junior Frankenstein said.

Nafsin said she plans to apply to computer science this semester, and Kongdara said she was looking into Asian American studies. Kongdara said being undeclared was a “blessing.”

“I have a good picture right now,” Kongdara said. “Even just a year ago, I don’t think I would’ve ever been pointed in this direction.”