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Meet The Learning Commons: Advising and Peer Mentorship – Where exploration and supported self-advocacy happens!

Written by Morgan Cottrell, Associate Director, Advising and Peer Mentorship Office

Did you know that 75% of undergraduate students change their majors at least once?  Did you know that RWU has an entire office ready to help students make the right decision about their major?  A student’s choice of course of study is ideally based on personal interests, skills, values and future goals.  At the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office, professional advisors and a team of Peer Mentors meet regularly with students who are deciding their major or considering changing majors to guide them and ensure that helpful resources are readily available.  Students at RWU are uniquely positioned to be exploratory learners.  What does that mean?  It means students can graduate with job ready skills and be prepared for a meaningful career no matter the major, so taking the time to explore your options is very important!

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Here are some interesting facts related to major choice

  • Only 27% of college educated people currently in the workforce are employed in jobs directly related to their college major.
  • This data supports that no matter the major, you can use your college experience to gain the skills that employers desire.
  • What are those skills? They are teamwork, communication, critical thinking and a good work ethic.
  • A 4 year degree has value regardless of major. Among all majors, the median income difference between someone with no education and someone with a 4 year college degree is $17,500 per year. Statistically, it is clear that after working several years, a college education will offer a solid return on investment no matter the major.
  • Many folks have the misconception that certain majors offer drastic differences in income. While this is sometimes true, incomes across majors begin to even out over time and with professional experience.  Research based on recent census data shows that many mid-career professionals with a liberal arts degree surpass the income level of their peers who have professional degrees.

What does this all mean?  It means that students can and should use their 4 years in college to explore.  It also means that students shouldn’t let the pressure of employability and projected income be the sole or primary determining factor in their choice of major.  A job is something adults spend most of their waking hours doing, so it needs to be something that is enjoyable, fulfilling and draws upon a person’s natural strengths and interests. Students at RWU are uniquely positioned to change their mind about their major and take the time they need to make the right decision.  Students can be a philosophy major, a writing major, a business major (and many others) and still gain the valuable competencies that will support a long and rewarding professional career after graduation.

 

Let the Advising and Peer Mentorship Office help you by visiting us on the 2nd floor of the library, or calling us for an appointment at 401-254-3456.

 

The office also supports students in the following ways:

-Every new student at RWU is provided a trained and experienced Peer Mentor.

-Professional staff meet with students about maintaining academic good standing and/or meeting scholarship requirements.

-Professional advisors meet with students to educate them about available resources on campus and to help them navigate university policies, systems and processes.

-Professional staff field concerns from faculty and staff about students who need academic assistance and reach out directly to students to provide support.

-Professional advisors help students navigate warning grades and prepare for registration and advisement.

-Sometime it is appropriate for students to consider taking time away from college.  Students in this situation should visit the office to speak with an advisor.