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Guiding First-Year Undecided College Students to Identify Their Purpose. Kristen Galloway, MSW Kristina Siarzynski-Ferrer, MS University Advising Center University of North Carolina at Charlotte. UNC Charlotte. University Advising Center Undecided/Transitioning students

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guiding first year undecided college students to identify their purpose

Guiding First-Year Undecided College Students to Identify Their Purpose

Kristen Galloway, MSW

Kristina Siarzynski-Ferrer, MS

University Advising Center

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

unc charlotte
UNC Charlotte
  • University Advising Center
    • Undecided/Transitioning students
  • Instructors- First-year learning community seminar
    • Fall and spring semester
  • Purpose finding vs. Prescriptive Advising
    • Undecided students: take time to explore options
    • Goal: lessen anxiety and stress, build confidence and explore inner self
  • Contemplative learning
undecided students in numbers
Undecided students in numbers
  • The undecided major is the third most selected program in the United States (Miller & Woycheck, 2003)
  • At least half of all students with declared majors are ‘prematurely’ decided majors who will change their minds (Cuseo, 2005)
  • 77% of all first and second year students are in the process of deciding on an academic major

(McDaniels, Carter, Heinzen, Candrl & Wieberg, 1994)

descriptors of undecided students
Descriptors of Undecided Students
  • Low academic performance
  • High anxiety
  • Poor self-efficacy
  • Fear of commitment / judgment
  • Low self-esteem
  • Problems with decision making
  • High perceived need for resolution
  • Reluctance to seek help
graduation rates
Graduation Rates
  • 70-85% - Graduation rates of students who change their major at least once
  • 45-50% - Graduate rates of students who retain their original major

Micceri (2002)

why are students undecided
Why are students undecided?
  • Traditional aged freshman are the largest group of undecided students (Gordon, 2007)
  • Three possible areas of need including:
    • Information deficits
    • Developmental skill deficits
    • Personal or social concerns
ucol 2200 purpose driven you
UCOL 2200: Purpose Driven You!

This course has been designed to engage the student in active reflection and development towards finding their academic and career goals. Reflection topics include: What are my values and motivators? What do I enjoy? What do I want to do?

The topics will incorporate student development theories focused on helping students find their life purpose through discussion, journal entries and creative activities.

student development theory
Student Development Theory
  • Many students have not reached a stage of intellectual theory in which they are capable of making well-reasoned academic and career decisions (Cueso, 2005)
  • Self-authorship requires defining one’s own belief system, a coherent identity, and mutual relationships (Baxter-Magolda, 2007)
  • Students look to parents, peers, and advisors for the right major (Perry, 1999)
longitudinal studies
Longitudinal Studies
  • Life Calling, Work, and Leadership, a course designed for undecided students aimed at meaning-making
  • Students were over six times more likely to earn a degree after 4 years than students who had not taken the course
  • Class helped students:
    • Lead more intentional lives
    • Come to terms with expectations about having a declared major
    • Access the support necessary for them to be successful

Reynolds, P. J., Gross, J. K., Millard, B., & Pattengale, J. (2010)

ucol2200 purpose driven you
UCOL2200: Purpose-Driven You
  • Demographics- 22 learning community students
    • Male: 23%
    • Female: 77%
    • Declared: 32%
    • Undeclared: 68%
    • At this time where are you with declaring your major?
      • Completely undecided: 0%
      • Somewhat undecided: 18%
      • Somewhat decided: 35%
      • Completely decided: 29%
      • Declared: 18%
    • Have you changed your mind about the major you want to declare since starting at UNC-Charlotte?
      • Yes: 47%
      • No : 53%
who am i
Who am I?
  • Introspective activities
    • Who am I?
    • Identifying values
    • Family interview
  • Reflection
    • Journals
    • Class writing prompts
why am i here
Why am I here?
  • Coaching meeting
  • Self-awareness
    • Positive energy and motivation
    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • High ropes activity
  • Counseling Center
    • Contemplative learning
what am i going to do
What am I going to do?
  • My Life presentation
    • Integrated paper and presentation- student action plan
  • Career Services
    • Myers-Briggs
    • StrengthsQuest
    • Strong Interest Inventory
slide16

Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi

life motto project
Life Motto Project
  • The Seven-Word Life Motto Project:
    • Describes – in seven words - how you want to live your life.
    • Focuses on the present and future.
    • Helps answers the questions, “Who am I meant to be?” and “What am I meant to do?”

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

reflection questions
Reflection Questions
  • How do other people (family, friends, etc.) describe you?
  • What are you good at?
  • What’s most important to you?
  • What inspires you?
  • How do you want to make an impact?
  • How do you want to be remembered?

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

inspiring words exercise
“Inspiring Words” Exercise
  • On each screen, write down 3 words on each screen that:
    • Resonate with you.
    • Describe you well.
    • Others use to describe you often.
    • Describe how you live (or would like to live) each day.
    • Get you excited and inspired!

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

key words
Key Words
  • Accomplish
  • Achieve
  • Appreciate
  • Believe
  • Build
  • Challenge
  • Change
  • Cherish
  • Choose
  • Connect
  • Community
  • Create
  • Discover
  • Diversity
  • Dream
  • Educate
  • Embrace
  • Empower
  • Encourage
  • Enjoyment
  • Enlighten
  • Entertain
  • Excel
  • Excite

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

key words1
Key Words
  • Explore
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Forgive
  • Friendship
  • Fun
  • Give
  • Global
  • Grateful
  • Happy/Joy
  • Heal
  • Health
  • Help
  • Honor
  • Improve
  • Innovate
  • Inspire
  • Integrity
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Lead
  • Leader
  • Live
  • Love

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

key words2
Key Words
  • Loyal
  • Make
  • Meaning
  • Model
  • Money
  • Motivate
  • Move
  • Nurture
  • Open
  • Peace
  • People
  • Perform
  • Personal Growth
  • Persevere
  • Play
  • Pleasure
  • Produce
  • Purpose
  • Quality
  • Reflect
  • Relate
  • Relax
  • Renew
  • Respect
  • Satisfy

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

key words3
Key Words
  • Save
  • Serve
  • Service 
  • Share
  • Spiritual
  • Success
  • Support
  • Take
  • Team
  • Teach
  • Touch
  • Travel
  • Trust
  • Truth
  • Understand
  • Unity
  • Volunteer
  • Wealth
  • Well-being
  • Wisdom
  • Work
  • Worship
  • Write

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

your motto
Your Motto…
  • As you review your list of words, pick out a few that stick out the most for you.
  • Use these words to help you decide on the seven words that resonate with you the most.
  • Your Seven-Word Life Motto can be:
    • One statement;
    • A series of small statements;
    • Seven individual words;
    • Or any combination of statements and/or words that work best for you.

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

slide25
So…

What will you choose to be

your seven words?

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

our life mottos
Our Life Mottos:
  • Kristina:

Live, Create, Dream, Empower, Save a life!

  • Kristen:

Inspire passion. Encourage connection. Be kind. Serve.

Adapted from “Educating from the Heart”

idea exchange questions
Idea Exchange / Questions

Kristen Galloway: kgallow9@uncc.edu

Kristina Siarzynski-Ferrer: ksiarzyn@uncc.edu