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2012 Spring Issue 2 (April 13, 2012)

Class of ‘14 picks majors

April 13, 2012
By Russel Peterson

As of this week, members of the Class of 2014 have officially declared their majors.

Considered a Carleton milestone, major declarations were due to the Registrar’s Office on Monday.  While a few students waited until the eleventh hour to declare their major, a large portion of sophomores had no hesitation in their decision, and declared as soon as they possibly could.

Jonah Simonds ’14, one of the first to declare as a political science/international relations major, held no doubts about his intended major.

“I came to Carleton with an idea that I’d be an international relations major,” he said. “After taking my first poli sci course, I felt that it was all I wanted to do. My only difficulty was deciding between poli sci or both poli sci and IR.”

Simonds has already fulfilled many of the credits required for his major, a product of knowing what he wanted to study early on in his college career.
Yet many students have trouble finding the major that suits them, as was the case for Matt Weinstein ’14.

 “I came to Carleton thinking I was going to major in economics, [then] promptly changed my mind to Religion, and after studying in Israel realized that that was out the window,” Weinstein said.

After some soul searching, Weinstein finally settled on American studies as his major.

“I spent all of last term debating between history and American studies, and by the end of the term American studies was the clear winner,” he said, adding, “There’s a little more disciplinary flexibility in American studies than history, which makes the choice easier.”

Although major declarations are difficult decisions, students provided a variety of reasons that their majors suited them.

International relations “is the most direct way of seeing how the world works,” Simonds said. “IR is just a really straightforward study on how the world is structured, the way things get done and how societies and cultures interact with one another. It all fascinates me.”

Rebecca Brown ’14 just declared as a cinema and media studies major, a choice she says fits her perfectly.

“I loved watching TV so much, so I thought, ‘Why not study it?’” she said. “CAMS is such a great major because not only do you learn and write papers about film, but you get fully to express yourself through your own productions.”

Now that the sophomores have passed this turning point, attention will soon shift to the first-years, i.e. the future sophomores, and their major-oriented decisions.

This is unwelcome news for anxious freshmen like Rachel Kirk ’15, whose choice of major is up in the air.

“I have no clue what I’m majoring in. I basically change my mind after taking a set of classes each term,” Kirk said.

Fortunately, first-years have one more year to make the big decision. In the meantime, Simonds offered some advice to the Class of 2015 and future classes about their major declarations.

“Declare a major in a department that you want to take a lot of classes in,” he said. “ I think a lot of freshmen think of majors in terms of what looks best. But if you look at upper-level courses and think you will enjoy them, then maybe that’s the path you should take.”


  • April 13 2012 at 2:08 pm
    Melinda R.

    Does the Carletonian have a required minimum of majors in order to make the chart?  There are a number of smaller --but not irrelevant -- majors missing here.

  • April 18 2012 at 7:23 pm
    Al Montero, POSC

    For years the Carletonian has listed political science and international relations (IR) as two separate majors. They are actually two tracks within the same major and the same department (see the College Catalog entry under POLITICAL SCIENCE). These tracks are designated differently in the major field on transcripts (POSC and POSI). However, they are the same departmental major as our faculty serve both tracks. So, for the purposes of being entirely accurate in these annual destapes of new major declarations, the numbers for POSC and POSI should be combined, making political science AND IR the second largest major/department at Carleton with 52 new majors. (Lest BIOL think that it is way ahead of everyone else!).

  • July 17 2012 at 6:08 pm
    A recent alum

    Interesting to note that CS is up and Psych is way, way down...

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