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Students choose dual majors, more options

By Zach Mongillo, Staff Writer

Many Hofstra students are choosing to do more work than necessary to graduate.

An overwhelming amount of underclassmen are planning to graduate with multiple majors, according to a Facebook survey, even though a bachelor's degree at Hofstra only requires students to choose one.

In the survey, students of all class standings were asked about the number of majors that they anticipated completing upon graduation. Over 40 freshmen and sophomores answered the survey. Among these students, 42 percent revealed that they plan to graduate with two or more majors.

Will Schenkel, a sophomore, is working toward completing a dual degree in Global Studies and Political Science in order to achieve his dream of becoming an ambassador. "I chose these degrees because Hofstra doesn't offer diplomacy as a major," said Schenkel. "Diplomacy requires all of these, and...I plan to use them all."

Schenkel figures he still needs to take only 16 credits per semester. "As it turns out there is a lot of overlap between the Political Science and the Global Studies programs, so I will indeed graduate on time," he said.

Many students, like Schenkel, are choosing to double major with the goal of finding the best fit for their "dream job."

Ethan Cookman, a sophomore majoring in both Linguistics and Asian Studies, is hoping to use both of his fields together some day. "I want to be a translator or a teacher in Japan," he said.

Only 10 percent of juniors and seniors who answered the survey said they were graduating this year with multiple majors. This leaves the question of whether the younger underclassmen who answered the survey will follow through with their early plans to obtain dual degrees.

Abby Brenker, a senior graduating this fall with a dual degree in Film Studies/Production and Creative Writing, proves to aspiring students that it is possible to finish with expertise in multiple fields of study.

"I would love to have both of these majors play into what I do in the future," she said. "I may need to focus on one or the other for a while, but I plan to pursue a career in film and write on the side."

She encourages other students to achieve a dual major. "Getting multiple degrees gives you more options for jobs and internships, it looks good on your resumé, and for me, it just meant taking less electives and fill-in classes," she said.

Given the shape of today's job market, many feel that it is important to have something that sets them apart from other applicants. Brenker believes that a dual major can help any student stand out, and that the added difficulty to classes is not overwhelmingly intense.

"I don't think it's easy," she said, "but it is certainly manageable."

University advisement has embraced students' dual majors. Anne Mongillo, the dean of the Center of University Advisement, said, "It's definitely a challenge, but if [students] are well organized, have excellent study skills, and take full advantage of all of the campus advising resources offered to them, it's a positive challenge."

Yet, even as dual majoring is an impressive feature to write on a resumé, Mongillo reminds students that it may be more important to focus on a single area of study in which he or she can excel.

"The most important thing is to complete any degree with a high GPA," she said. "Employers are really interested in hiring students who can communicate well. Writing and critical thinking skills are a must in any economy."

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