Using Wordle for Exploring

Recently, I was introduced to the online program Wordle. Wordle generates “word clouds” from text that you provide. The “word clouds” give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery.

After taking some time to consider what text to add, I realized that this could be used to help students explore majors. I added the text from my previous blog “Summer Exploring” and the Wordle below does a great job of providing a unique, visual representation of my words.

Click on the image to view a larger version.

Wordle: Summer Exploring

My assignment for you is simple. Write a short essay about yourself: your likes, dislikes, and significant experiences that have helped shape the person that you are. Then, submit the text to Wordle and create your own “word cloud.” You may see some strengths that you might not have noticed before.

I’d love to see what you come up with, so please share your Wordles in the comments section below.

And, as always, if you want to talk to an advisor about exploring majors, please feel free to email us at exploringmajors@uta.edu.


Summer Exploring

Summer is not only an opportunity to work on your tan or earn extra cash, but it is also an opportunity to explore your major options without the stresses of a full load of classes. You may not know this, but Academic Advisors work year round at UTA to provide information to students about degree requirements, class registration and department opportunities like internships.

This is also a great time to start discussing graduate school options. The Office of Graduate Studies provides walk-in sessions for prospective students thoughout the year. It’s never too early to think about the future, and according to the Mav Grad Blog, the Ph.D is making a comeback, especially in science and business.

The important thing to note is that you have resources available as a UTA student. Career Consultants, Academic Advisors, Counselors, Peer Mentors, Faculty and Student Organizations are here to help you make the best of your time at UTA. Remember that your college experience is not all about the books and lectures; it also includes the people that you meet, the connections that you make and what you do when you’re not in the classroom. Utilize your time during the summer to make plans for your future and get answers to the questions that you have about your education.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~Mark Twain


Exploring Majors Online

Every college and university offers a wide range of subjects for majors, minors, certifications, etc. When faced with so much information, it’s easy to see why so many students start as undeclared or change majors 2-3 times before graduation. A key to successfully choosing a major is to not let “the decision” sit on the back burner for too long. Sure, it’s tempting to busy yourself with student organizations, study groups or part-time jobs to brush off the inevitable, but it’s important to be proactive. Your counselors and advisors understand that your major exploration process depends on the type of person that you are. Not everyone is comfortable meeting with a bunch of advisors in-person, making phone calls or setting up informational interviews. Luckily, learning about majors is only a click away, and the UT Arlington website offers at least four routes to learn more about majors offered:

Personally, I like the UTA Catalog. I often recommend looking at the course descriptions for advanced 3000-4000 level classes in areas of interest. This can give you an idea of what will be expected of you in the future. If you look over the upper level classes and nothing jumps out at you, then it could be a giant red flag.  Look for areas of study that will challenge you in a constructive way, but also offer opportunities to enrich your college experience.  Be true to your personality, interests, skills and values and you will find a major that works for you.  

Maybe you already know what kind of career you want in the future, but are finding it difficult to narrow down an academic path. The following links give some great information about the type of education that is required for a variety of jobs and career paths.

Regardless, of where you are on your major exploration journey, the University Advising Center is here to help with several major exploration options:

If you have any questions, feel free to email an advisor at exploringmajors@uta.edu.


University Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies?

Have you heard about  University Studies? It’s one of the newest degree options offered at UT Arlington, and there has been a lot of confusion about what a University Studies is exactly. University Studies is housed in the University College in Ransom Hall and offers a Bachelor of Science degree option. The degree plan is not a traditional degree plan, but it does has some similarities to the Interdisciplinary Studies degrees offered at UTA.

The main similarities include:

  • Both allow students to develop individualized degree plans.
  • Both allow flexibility in course selection to meet degree requirements.
  • Both provide a degree option for students not well-served by a traditional major for whatever reason.
  • Both allow students to make use of transfer hours and hours already earned at UT Arlington.
  • Both require students to complete an application.

Sounds simply enough, right? Well, there are some key distinctions between the two departments and the experience that the programs offer to students. Distinctions include program entrance requirements, GPA requirements, degree focus and use of credit among others. Please refer to the Distinctions between INTS and University Studies guide for specifics.

Do you think you might be a good candidate for University Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies?

  • A typical University Studies candidate would have over 60 credit hours, a variety of credit (both UTA and transfer),  at least a 2.0 GPA, and is ready to graduate. They would choose three areas of content from the approved list: Arts, Business, Community Studies, Engineering, Health and Wellness, Humanities, Media, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.
  • The ideal Interdisciplinary Studies student is usually a sophomore/junior with an ideal job or career in mind that is not offered as a traditional major at UTA. These students can opt of a BA or BS in Interdisciplinary Studies degree and combine 2-4 areas of study to gain certain knowledge and skills. Students would work with their advisor to develop content areas that are relevant to their goals, take 3 Interdisciplinary core classes and have an opportunity for internship or service learning experience.

Both degrees offer flexibility and independence, but for some students the big question is “What kind of job can I get with this degree?”  Since both degrees require students to choose their own academic adventure, the answer can only be found in the content areas that are selected and the research performed by the student while pursuing the degree. University Studies offers a broad-based education that can prepare you for a variety of career paths, and a Interdisciplinary Studies degree can be as specific as you want to make it. The key element is you, the student.

With that said, do either of these degree options seem interesting to you? If your answer is yes, follow the links below for more information.

To find out more about University Studies, click here.

To find out more about Interdisciplinary Studies, click here.

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