Auburn University's new Exploratory Advising Center helps students select a major

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The process of selecting a major can be difficult. When you add 140 different undergraduate majors the decision becomes even more difficult. A new on-campus advising center at Auburn University provides students with collaborative academic advising and career counseling to put them on the path to success.

University officials on Sept. 15 opened its new Exploratory Advising Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center, located on the newly renovated ground floor of Mary Martin Hall, houses advising rooms, meeting rooms, adviser offices and waiting areas for students.

First-time college students are advised by cross-trained advisors and career counselors who provide intensive and personalized advising. This will help them choose the major that most closely meets their academic aptitudes and interests as well as their long-term goals.

"The center is devoted to assist exploratory freshmen in the process of declaring a major," Provost Timothy Boosinger said. "It was created as part of our strategic plan to help students graduate in four years."

Exploratory freshmen are first-time students who have elected not to select a specific major within a college. These students will have only two semesters to choose a major, or at least a college, in which they would like to continue their studies.

"The center is a good option for freshmen who are not sure what they want to do," said Constance Relihan, associate provost of undergraduate studies. "During their two semesters as an exploratory freshman, students will be enrolled in an exploration seminar where they will complete career inventories and listen to guest speakers in different fields to see what areas they are interested in."

The center also advises upperclassman students who have been referred by their college or school for academic advising and career counseling to determine the next steps of their academic pursuits.

"I decided to change majors because I was not interested in the material anymore," said student DeAnna Hanks. "I knew I had to switch majors before it was too late. If I feel like I need to make another huge transition in my college career, I know I could visit the Exploratory Advising Center and each of them would be willing to put their time toward helping me excel."

"I chose the exploratory major because it is the only major that allows us to take classes in areas we are passionate about," said Jordan Marquez, a freshman in the program. "What if I do not know the best path for me to turn my passion into a career? That is what the exploratory major is here to help with."

For more information about the Exploratory Advising Center, contact Ruthie Spiers at or visit the website.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.