Choices can be hard – everything is a tradeoff and there are many unknowns. Popular dystopian societies take the decision making out of the hands of the youth: Hogwarts uses the Sorting Hat to choose the perfect house for each student. The Capitol uses a random drawing to choose their Hunger Games’ tributes. An aptitude test decides the factions for 16-year olds in post-apocalyptic Chicago in Divergent. It happens even earlier in The Giver where ‘assignments in the community’ are doled out to 11-year olds.
But here at Notre Dame, these decisions are left up to you and, although it is a complicated process, you should be grateful for this opportunity. Would you really rather have someone else, even someone who loves you, choose what you're going to study for the next two years? It is without a doubt a big decision but fear not, there are a number of things you can do to help you make an informed, intentional choice and therein lies the purpose of the SMART Sophomore App which we launched in October 2017!
Within the App, we've collected a number of activities that we know to be helpful as you consider the major options leading up to your official major declaration in February of sophomore year. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play by searching smartsophomore. All the challenges in the app are designed to help you determine which major is the best path for you and start preparing you for the job search ahead. We add to the list of challenges regularly as new opportunities become available and there are prizes to keep you in the game.
The premier challenge within the new app continues to be our Mendoza Major Challenge, which has proven to be a very effective tool in helping students understand their strengths and interests as well as ALL their major options. The MMN carries the highest point total in the app (100 points) and has two parts:
PART ONE: There are 4 tasks built into the eportfolio you created last spring. Open it up at eportfolio.nd.edu, select Mendoza in the title bar across the top and select Major Discernment from the sidebar on the left. Type your responses directly into your ePortfolio (be sure to Save and Publish). Keep in mind that the value of these exercises comes from actual exploration and reflection. Students must follow the directions carefully and do a thoughtful job completing each task in order to earn the incentives. To take a page out of Officer McCarthy's third quarter playbook: "Remember, students who phone it in are always disconnected!"
Dig deep and think specifically about what aspects of the intro courses or job prospects for each major do or do not appeal to you. Additional information about each major can be found on the undergraduate website under Academics/Major Discernment/Resources.
PART TWO: Once you’ve completed all 4 tasks, schedule a 30 minute meeting with an Advisor to discuss your responses and get valuable insight, feedback and references to additional resources that may be helpful given your specific goals and plans. Advisor meetings may be scheduled via your Student Dashboard (be sure to indicate MMC as your reason). All meetings must be completed before February 23, 2018 (the last day to declare your major).