March 19, 2007
Advising Tip: Choosing a Concentration
How do people choose concentrations? Some students just seem to know even before they begin school what they'll concentrate in. For most students, however, finding a concentration can be challenging, even a bewildering process. Here are some suggestions for organizing the process:
I. Ask yourself at least six questions.
A. What are your academic interests?
B. What are your abilities?
C. What are your values?
D. What is your motivation?
E.What are the realities about you and the concentration? (For example, the Biology concentration requires three semesters of chemistry. If you don't like chemistry, should you consider a different concentration?)
(from the Division of Undergraduate Studies, Office of the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education, The Pennsylvania State University )
II. Consult the LSA Bulletin for
A. General information regarding concentrations and careers,
B. Concentration requirements,
C. Brief course descriptions,
D. Department addresses and phone numbers.
III. Do informal and formal concentration “interviews”: Ask friends, acquaintances, relatives, advisors, professors, alums, etc.
A. How did you choose your concentration?
B. What do (did) you like best about your concentration?
C. What do (did) you like least?
D. What are you or will you do with your concentration?
IV. Use the available campus resources:
A. LS&A Academic Advisors
B. Concentration advisors
C. Department Websites ( www.lsa.umich.edu/lsa/depts/ )
D. Career Center ( http://www.cpp.umich.edu/ )
E. The Concentration Fair--Tuesday, March 27th, 11:00-3:00, Michigan Union Ballroom.
F. For a "course" (free, not for credit, and self-directed) on how to choose your concentration, got to Concentration 101.
V. Keep in mind that
A. A concentration isn't a career: you don't have to be a historian if you're a history concentrator, a philosopher if you're a philosophy concentrator, a chemist if you concentrate in chemistry....
B. To employers, grad schools, etc., how well you do matters more than what your concentration is.
C. To employers, grad schools, etc., why you chose a concentration matters more than what your concentration is.
D. LSA expects that you'll declare your concentration in the second semester of your sophomore year. But you can always change your mind.
Posted by skassner at March 19, 2007 11:48 AM