What do you want to be when you grow up? This question weighs on our minds from the time we start kindergarten through high school graduation. However, the puzzle doesn’t quite end there, not for most.
According to CNBC, 53% of Americans who quit their jobs last year made a career change. It’s safe to say that many high school graduates may have difficulty choosing a lifelong career path prior to starting college.
Chapman University offers an Exploratory Majors Program to its undeclared students to help them find inspiration and, eventually, themselves. The program consists of interdisciplinary courses for first-year students, allowing them to try various areas of study. These courses are also referred to as First-Year Focus Courses (FCCs).
Students who participate in the Exploratory Majors Program for Undeclared Students are assigned three advisors to aid in their success. This “success team” includes their FCC professor, a dedicated academic advisor and a career advisor.
What Is the Undeclared Experience at Chapman?
Students are able to take a variety of classes from different majors to help them narrow their choices. “I’m figuring out what I like and what I don’t like,” said Nicholas Falk ’26, who began attending Chapman in the fall 2022 semester. “I’ve been taking different types of classes to see what’s out there. It’s really allowed me to explore more.”
Applying without a major doesn’t hurt your chances of getting into Chapman. In fact, Chapman offers the following resources for undeclared students:
- Undeclared Advising: The Academic Advising Center provides assistance to help students explore and find their major.
- Majors in Minutes: This annual event gives students the opportunity to learn about possible majors from students in those majors in a speed-dating format.
- Career and professional assessments: Chapman’s Career and Professional Development Office can help you find a career that matches your interests and goals — and a major to match that career!
When students start to gravitate toward specific areas of study, there are campus jobs, events and clubs to fuel the fire of inspiration. “I came to Chapman because Dodge, the film school, is really interesting,” said Faith Nguyen ’26, who is also an undeclared freshman. “I like going to their events and I’m applying for a job there.”
Nguyen shared that she was recently inspired in a PR class she’s taking through the Exploratory Majors Program — which could lead to a promising career in advertising in the film industry — saying, “I think I want to double major in PR and economics.” Economics was always a favorite subject for Nguyen, so she’s excited to utilize that knowledge in a fun way.
With over 175 recognized student organizations at Chapman, there is something for everyone to get inspired and involved while finding their major.
Designing a Major at Chapman
A self-designed major is possible for students who draw from more than one traditional discipline. Minors can also be self-designed, as long as Chapman offers the program of study that interests the student. This is perfect for students who wish to cross disciplinary boundaries and construct new forms of knowledge or creative expression.
Diya Giri ’26 knew that she wanted to follow in her parents’ footsteps, somehow blending the technical world of her father, a software engineer, and her mother’s creative world as a painter. “My admission counselor told me I could create whatever I want and, within certain parameters, Chapman would make it happen for me. That’s the biggest reason why I’m here,” she said.
Giri expressed that Chapman is meeting her needs for her goals to blur the lines between art and technology, saying, “I want to do something with immersive media, like VR, with a focus on immersive experiences for theatres and concerts. Dodge has a strong VR/AR [virtual reality/augmented reality] and VFX [visual effects] program as a minor.”
For her major, Giri shared her excitement about taking classes from various schools within Chapman University. “I did a lot of research to figure out how to piece everything together. What was really great is that everything I wanted wasn’t in just one college; there were options throughout almost all of the colleges at Chapman. Counselors were really great about helping me get into those classes and finding ways to connect those within my major.”
Applying to Chapman as an Undeclared Student
What do you want to be when you grow up? Chapman wants to inspire your answer. Apply undeclared and find yourself as a Chapman Panther!