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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Major admissions teach students about themselves, professionalism

    If you’re a freshman or sophomore studying public health, physiology, business or another pre-professional program on campus, you’ve probably had to explain to people that you don’t exactly have a major in college — yet.

    Major admissions requirements can be a real pain, but the truth is that you’re going to benefit from them in the end, whether you’re admitted or not.

    Besides the awkwardness of having to admit to your parents, their coworkers and your cousin who is studying nuclear engineering that you may not ever be admitted to your desired major, you’re haunted by two little words: professional admissions.

    Why do you think some prerequisite classes work you so hard? Why do you think that crazy class didn’t have a curve? Yes, there is a “None Shall Pass” mantra among faculty that weeds out the weak.

    So if you’re waiting for your acceptance letter this week, wondering why you had to spend a whole Saturday interviewing at the UA, you’re not alone. Last Saturday, pre-business students were interviewed by Eller College Associates as part of the professional admissions process. Applicants to the business program will find out this Friday if they have been admitted to the college.

    This spring, the Eller College of Management had more than 600 major applicants for only 400 seats.

    In spite of the competition, A.J. Bass, a pre-business student who applied for a marketing major, said he still thought Eller was worth it.

    “It’s a long process,” Bass said, adding, “[It] gets you ready for the future.”

    Bass said that the application process actually helped him become more organized.

    Putting pressure on students early is a good thing, according to Maggie Delaney, a public health junior. Major admissions “ensure that being in that major is something a student really wants to do … [They] make students think more about their major [and] encourage them to work harder in classes.” Delaney said that the process helped her grow personally.

    “It has made me have more respect for my major and more pride when I was accepted,” she said. “I also felt close to the advisers and staff of the college.”

    Jeff Welter, the assistant director of professional development and an academic adviser for Eller College, knows firsthand how the system affects students.

    “Professional admissions puts students through a competitive process and, for most, makes them step out of their comfort zone,” he said. Welter teaches a career class that focuses on admissions preparation. “The professional admissions process does not feel great for some students as they go through it because it is nerve-wracking, and some will not be admitted.”

    If you spent the last two years partying like there was no tomorrow, you probably won’t get into your major. And if you put little effort into building your resume, admissions committees will read between the lines.

    “Professional admissions doesn’t effect a fundamental change in a students’ character or ability,” said Welter, “but it can help a student gain a better sense of professional IQ and confidence. Preparing an elevator pitch, interacting with actual business professionals or even wearing a business suit for the first time can change a student’s sense of professionalism.”

    That’s exactly the benefit of professional admissions. You might not be accepted, but you did have to rise to meet a challenge more comprehensive than any exam.

    When UA colleges put pressure on students to tackle challenges beyond just getting good grades, students are forced to step up to the plate and start taking risks. If your degree program requires a major application, you have a leg up on applying for graduate, law, medical school and the like, because you will have built upon the leadership positions you assumed and projects you designed as a freshman.

    Major admissions processes are a wake-up call, and they’re the best tests a university can give its students.

    — Stephanie Zawada is a chemistry and pre-business sophomore. She can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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