The biggest difference between high school and university lies in having a major and academically learning within a certain field in depth. Many students ponder on choosing a major and according to the Students’ Life Counsel Center, 27% of students are interested in changing their present major because they are not interested in it or it was not like what they’d hoped for. Likewise, choosing a major without any experience narrows students’ perspectives and limits their chances to find a perfectly fitting major. Hence, starting from the freshman grade in 2018, CAU is going to carry out an open major system. In order to allow students to choose a major that fits them, students are given a chance to actually experience what it’s like and decide whether to stay or change their major in 2nd year.
Presently, three colleges (including Engineering, Creative ICT Engineering, and Biotechnology) are preferentially leading the open major system. Other departments are planning to adapt this system after developing plans and going through conferences with their members. The CAU open major system is presently aimed at students entering in regular admission, based on the CSAT (College Scholastic Ability Test), taking around 20% of the total students. Freshmen are assigned temporary majors of their choice according to the selected capacity proportion of each college department. Freshmen are equally educated with basic major courses and given a choice to stay or to change their major within the limit of occupancy.
CAH: According to reports on the CAU homepage website, details are not specified. Are there any clear decisions made within this policy?
LIM: Since it is a plan for 2018, specific outlines for the number of students admitted per major and evaluating standards are still undecided. However, we are planning to evaluate students from diverse aspects. Unrestricted to GPA, including interviews or certificate results is being considered.
CAH: During the 2016 administration, CAU had tried a similar concept of students being able to make major changes, but it ended up being a meaningless policy. What improvements have been made?
LIM: The biggest problem in 2016’s policy was that freshmen with temporary major placements experienced anxiety from their uncertain major selections. Therefore, many pleaded that they lost their sense of belonging since temporary majors might change in the next year. However, the open major system gives freshmen a confirmed major with a choice to stay or to change in the coming year. With flexible number limits according to students’ demand, this policy will extend the concept of ordinary major changes.
CAH: How do you see this open major system from the school’s perspective?
LIM: Many students tend to complain regarding the fact that they must choose a major based on grades. However, I hope that students consider the school’s position that grades are the most objective standard school has to measure students’ abilities and knowledge. CAU is putting a great amount of effort to passionately rise up to students’ expectations and help to set best career plans. Gathering opinions from the members of CAU and establishing countermeasures for the previous unsuccessful trials anticipates improvements and better policies.
Many students have expressed positive expectation with this new system. Starting off with targeting 20% of students, the Academic Administration Team will continuously receive feedback and make improvements for expansion. Without plentiful background knowledge, it is hard to change majors. Adapting this new system will allow students to have satisfactory university lives by studying what they wish and have interest in. Like the old saying goes, a genius cannot win over one who tries, and one who tries cannot win over one who enjoys.
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