What majors do they want in these colleges

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: July 2003 Archive: What majors do they want in these colleges
By Ijn_Yamato (Ijn_Yamato) on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 09:11 pm: Edit

Hello comrades,

I was wondering what the "lacking" major was at these 7 colleges (the majors that they're looking for because they don't have enough). If anyone has any idea about this, please tell me. I am planning on "intending" such a major to give me an edge during the admissions process and then jump ship to my real major once I'm on board. My real intended major is communications or journalism. If there's a great communications or journalism dept. at one of these please give me a few details as well. Thanks in advance!


By Arthurd (Arthurd) on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 09:54 pm: Edit

I can't answer your first question, but I'd say that Syracuse, Northwestern, and UNC Chapel Hill probably have better Journalism and Mass Communications programs than all of these schools, with the exception of MAYBE Columbia (I am not sure if they have undergrad journalism though). It seems like you are planning to put yourself through a lot just to get into a big name school when there are other schools that better fit your needs. Try not to fall into the name of the school before you find a school that fits you first.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, July 25, 2003 - 10:48 pm: Edit

Your post truly strikes me for two reasons. One is your intent to declare a particular major, one that you do not even plan to indulge in, solely as a strategy to game your admission chances. Sorry but not only do I think this is unwise, I think an adcom can see through it. I can tell you just as a person who happens to conduct admissions interviews, that I ask what academic interest or career interest the student has (and it is NOT necessary to know or be decided or sure) and how he/she developed that interest, what exposure he/she had to that field, and other inquiries regarding it. For you to declare something like Classics for instance, when you have no experience with it....um, what could you say that sounded sincere? And why would you not want to explain your interest in Journalism and what you have done (hopefully) to explore that interest so far in your life? I say, either write Undecided, or say your true interest, NOT some major that you THINK is one that is not popular......sorry, that is plain...well, UNWISE. Not only is it unwise, it does not take advantage of all the things you could do to demonstrate your TRUE interest. Further, even IF you are merely strategizing, there is no way to tell that there is ANY advantage to declaring a less popular major. I truly think this one aspect is not high on the admissions criteria.

The second aspect of your post that really gets to me is your list of schools. They are not only ALL Ivy league schools.....but you obviously want the name/prestige ONLY cause if you are truly interested in Communications or Journalism, for one thing, you would have looked into whether these schools on your list had this major (some DO NOT) and that alone would disqualify the school from your list of ones that interest you. Picking a school is not all about the NAME! As someone said, pick the top schools that have the criteria you want or the major you want. How did you pick your list? Some of those do not have your major at all! Also, there is a ton of other important criteria to consider....size, curriculum, location, etc. and those schools are all quite different from one another. Case in point....I can't see how Columbia appeals to the same kid who likes Dartmouth. Lastly, I do not care how amazing you are (and so far you do not impress me with your gaming the system, nor the lack of in depth inquiry into colleges to see if they even offer your major) but even if you are the most amazing student, nobody can afford to ONLY apply to IVY league schools with no schools that are matches or safeties....it is simply FOOLISH. You could end up no place or with no choices in the end but one.


By Emyh (Emyh) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 12:33 am: Edit

I too am tempted to apply to Cornell for the prestige... but truly, I know I would be better off at USC for example where they have a strong communications program. Prestige is appealing, but look beyond it. They are many good schools with awesome communications schools.

By Serene (Serene) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 12:39 am: Edit

Excellent Susan!

By Obh100 (Obh100) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 02:19 am: Edit

since when does Northwestern not have presitige? Medill is the #1 school of journalism in the country?

By Ijn_Yamato (Ijn_Yamato) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 10:20 am: Edit


Soviet, just by asking a question I've caused the Royal Navy and to send the Hood, the Prince of Wales, and the King George V against me.

Well, excuse me it was only a question and I respect your moralistic code and opinion.

Thanks all.

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 12:46 pm: Edit

OB, don't worry about the poster. He obviously has no clue what he's talking about. None of his schools that he listed even have undergraduate journalism majors.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 01:07 pm: Edit

First, as others have already pointed out, do your homework. None of the schools on your list have undergraduate degrees in either journalism or communications. Columbia is the only one with a school of journalism but that is strictly a GRADUATE level program. If journalism is your interest, look at schools like BU, Northwestern, Syracuse, Ithaca College, University of Southern Calif.

Next, I would strongly advise you against applying for a major just because you think it may increase your chances of getting into a school. You may very well end up having to take classes in that major before you can change to a different major. Do you really want to waste your freshman year taking courses in something that you're not really interested in? Just doesn't make sense. I also think that the admissions committee will wonder if you say on your application that you want to major in unpopular major like classics, but have never taken Latin or Greek in high school. It would be better to say you are an undeclared major than declare a major you have no intention of pursuing.

Also, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to transfer between schools at large universities, especially if it is "known" for a particular major. It can also be very difficult for non-majors to take the courses and pre-requisites required for a journalism degree if you are not actually enrolled in that school.

If journalism/communications is your goal, your best bet it to apply directly to the school/department you want to be in so you can be certain of maximizing your course work in that major and graduating on time.

Frankly, I think in applying to colleges it's always best to BE HONEST. Don't try to work the system by lying -- it may very well backfire in unexpected ways.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 05:01 pm: Edit


One is your intent to declare a particular major, one that you do not even plan to indulge in, solely as a strategy to game your admission chances.

LOL - Isn't the admission a cynical game that is mostly based on develop strategies to win the approval of an admission committee?


Sorry but not only do I think this is unwise, I think an adcom can see through it.

In theory, they should but that would require a level of expertise that most adcoms and interviewers do not seem to possess--based on recent published books and comments in the CC boards.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 05:35 pm: Edit

From http://hcs.harvard.edu/~uac/faq.htm#acad3

When must undergraduates declare their concentrations?

Undergraduates must declare their concentrations in the Spring of their first year. Harvard sets the date early in order to get you to start thinking about concentrations early on. Once you have declared a concentration, it is quite easy to switch later on.

By Ijn_Yamato (Ijn_Yamato) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 06:11 pm: Edit

Ok then

Does any school have an undergraduate major in Imperial Japanese Naval Vessels and Tactics?


By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 06:29 pm: Edit

No, that is only offered at the University of Hawaii.

By Sunshine916 (Sunshine916) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 08:52 pm: Edit

i know someone who thought it would be fun to apply to Harvard as a German major, got in, and NEVER GOT OUT!! so now he is stuck with a degree in German, barely passed because he never had an interest in it, and is now working at a high school teaching German...

so if you want to go to Harvard, major in German *rolls eyes*

Susan and Carolyn said it all. i am not even going to lecture you again because, you're not going to listen to me anyways. do what you want.


By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 09:15 pm: Edit

Stuck in a major at Harvard! Wow, that is U N B E L I E V A B L E. Unless Harvard was afraid to lose one of the three students enrolled in the Germanic Languages program.

By Rob (Rob) on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 09:24 pm: Edit

DO NOT SELECT AN INTENDED MAJOR TO TRY TO GET IN B/C ADCOMS CAN SEE THROUGH IT- you have to show them that you are profoundly interested in your academic pursuits through your classes/extracurriculars, not just by writing it down on an app

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 12:45 am: Edit

Profoundly interested? Aren't you forgetting that most of us are about 17 or 18 when we have to make that decision? I can tell you that I could easily choose 4 different majors based on my curriculum.

Let's take a look at some majors at Harvard ... Anthropology, Classics, Folklore and Mythology, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology.

Do most students REALLY have a choice to take sufficient High School classes in the above fields to demonstrate a "profound interest".

So, if I would be EXTREMELY curious about psychology, I would not pass the "smell" test of Mrs Interview if I did not take the elective in psy at my HS school, even if the class is total bunk?

I wish people would realize that students go to college to learn but also TO DISCOVER new interests. What would be wrong to plan to take classes in many different fields and postpone choosing a major for as long as possible?

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 04:45 pm: Edit

I think most adcoms DO realize that 17 and 18 year olds just haven't had the experience to know what they want to major in. I KNOW they know that the majority of students will change their major at least once in the next four years. Liberal arts schools, in particular, prefer students who are honest enough to admit that they want to go to college to discover what they want to major in.

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