What does it mean to declare “exploratory” on my admissions application?
To declare “exploratory” is to give yourself a little more freedom to test out courses in different disciplines your first few semesters. At UF, once you declare a major, you have to take specific courses in a specific order in order to be on-track for that major. By declaring “exploratory”, you can decide on a much more interdisciplinary selection of courses that allows you to learn about different academic fields. Students can be exploratory up to their first three fall/spring semesters (or first three spring/summer semesters if IA) before they have to declare a major. By the way, many students who THINK they know their majors starting out, end up changing their minds. In fact, 61% of UF students change majors within their first two years!
Does being exploratory affect my academic progress in any way?
According to past graduation data, UF students averaged 8.7 fall/spring semesters to graduate. Students within the same class who specifically started out as exploratory averaged 8.6 semesters to graduate. Overlapping requirements and transferable credits help make this possible. Very often, the courses for one major will serve as General Education credits for another major, so exploratory students are still making progress towards fulfilling degree requirements. Besides, students can always use summers to get caught up or ahead (or fall semesters, if IA).
What are some recommended steps a first semester exploratory student should take?
Here are some suggestions: Take CHOMP, the Career Connections Center’s “Career Help or Major Planning” assessment; enroll in Exploratory Roadmaps, a free, self-paced collection of activities and accompanying resources that guide you through the process of finding a major; talk to professors whose classes you’re enjoying to find out more about their fields; get involved on campus to start networking with other students and talking to them about the majors they’re pursuing; browse the Undergraduate Catalog.
I’m not sure about my major, but I know I want to go to law school or medical school. What do you recommend?
There are no specific majors that medical or law schools prefer. Medical schools require specific pre-requisite courses, but students pursuing any major can decide to take those courses. Visit UF’s pre-health advising website for more information.
Pre-law students don’t even have specific pre-requisite courses to take but instead are advised to look for majors that help them develop skills such as critical thinking, analytical reasoning and communication. In general, students should pick a major that interests them as that interest will tend to reflect in their grades.
I was admitted to UF through the PaCE program. Can I start out exploratory?
Yes! As with all exploratory students, you will need to declare a major by then end of your third term of enrollment. Because you also have to declare a major before you transition to campus, you want to make sure you’re testing out the courses that will make you eligible for any of the PaCE majors you might be considering.