In comparison to state schools, Drake University has a relatively low number of students who remain undecided about their major. Many times, people at other institutions will wait to declare their major until their sophomore year, and sometimes, even junior year. How is Drake different?
Senior Admission Counselor Chris Slocombe breaks it down to three main reasons: the cost of Drake, the type of students that come to Drake and the type of school that Drake is.
It is no secret that even though they try to make it affordable for families, Drake is more expensive than a state school.
“The type of student that looks at a school like us is typically a little more motivated in the sense that it costs a lot more money, and so because of that, they are more likely to have one or two things in mind,” Slocombe said. “They also get more pressure from home to pick something.”
Drake tuition, including room and board, for the 2012-2013 school year is $38,236. When parents are footing the bill, they like to know that their student’s time here is being used wisely.
“In addition to their own drive and their parents wanting them to choose something, the type of school that we are allows them to try out stuff earlier,” Slocombe said. “At certain public schools, there are classes that you need to take before you even sniff business classes. When they are pretty sure what they want to go into, they can get in and try it out, whereas normally at a state school, they would have to be undecided.”
During thew admission process, students are encouraged to try any major (excluding pharmacy) right away. Another aspect of Drake that makes it easy for students to declare a major is the ability to obtain a double major.
“There are a ton of students here that will get a double major, and even if they are not double majoring in something, they will get a minor or a concentration, so there is a ton of the ability to do that makes students feel like they don’t need to decide,” Slocombe said.
For students that are undecided, Drake offers the ability to explore a large breadth of interests. Senior Emmy Lustig came in undecided.
“I think the nice thing about Drake is that you don’t have to have two years of required coursework before either you declare a major or are able to get into specific classes,” Lustig said. “I took a variety of classes my freshman year. My focus was to take courses that I thought would interest me and figure out what I wanted to do.”
Having such a small amount of students that are undecided can also have its drawbacks. First-year Ben Verhasselt is currently undecided.
“I found out very quickly that Drake isn’t a very conducive environment for an undecided major, but after seeing a lot of people change their major, I am glad I am undecided so I can better formulate my major so I won’t have to change it,” Verhasselt said.
The ability to cater to students on all levels of certainty — from those who have had their plans set since they were in diapers to those that have interests in two or more areas — is just one more thing that sets Drake apart.