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Choosing a major is an important decision and is an intimidating one for most.

Luckily, there are many ways to navigate this diverse and confusing process.

Your first year is a time to develop your skills and learn about your passions, so exploring some of the 6500 undergraduate courses offered at the UW is important.

Here are some tools that can help simplify this process.

FIGs: First Year Interest Groups (FIGs) are small, academic communities of about 20-25 first year students who share similar interests. In a FIG, you will participate in activities relating to your passions, as well as take part in constructive discussions with your fellow first years.

FIGs are a great way to meet other students, learn from peers with valuable experience at the UW, easily form study groups, and find a small group learning experience within the extensive community at the University of Washington.

First-Year Advising Guide: Students have access to the First-Year Advising Guide. This guide is full of suggestions to help new students find the right major for them and streamline the process of transitioning to a new academic environment.

Audit Degree (DARS): In order to choose the right major, you need to understand what your options entail. Investigating major requirements and prerequisites is very important when deciding what to study. UW MyPlan has a Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) which shows students what classes they must take to get into their major, and what classes they need to take within their specific department once admitted.

Additionally, DARS makes it easy to track your process as you complete more classes by marking which requirements you have completed as you take classes.

Department advisors: Regardless of the many tools UW offers to help you through the process of choosing a major, it is always comforting to talk to someone through your decision-making process. Thankfully, there are a large variety of advisors ready to work with you on mapping out your academic experience.

Speaking to departmental advisors will help you to understand what you need to do, to get where you want and you don’t need to be in the major to utilize their expertise

Just go to the Department of your choice’s website and schedule an appointment with an advisor – it’s that easy!

Test the waters: How will you know a major is right for you without trying it out? Taking introductory courses will clarify if your intended major is something you really want to spend four years studying.

Luckily, due to general education requirements, there is space in your schedule built-in for exploring new subjects. So, you can get credit for your exploration and get a feel for the field of study all in one!

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