Impaction forces assigned undeclared students to re-evaluate

by Oct 1, 2013 2:41 pm Tags: , , ,

Impaction has become a problem for many students across campus, especially assigned undeclared transfer students who are unable to make it into their original major of choice and have to look for another major.

Because of impaction, some students have to re-evaluate their original plans and work with advisers to another option that would perhaps better fit their circumstances and goals, said Cindy Kato, director of academic advising and retention services.

“Impaction is caused by more people who want a major than we have the faculty to be able to offer the classes for,” Kato said.

Kato said that in Fall 2010, the first year of impaction, there were about 12 impacted majors.

Since then, as demand grows and the budget lessens, all majors have been affected, she said.

According to the SJSU admission website, SJSU offered applicants admission as an undeclared major to transfer students who met CSU eligibility requirements, but not their individual major requirements.

The assigned undeclared major was for students who went to community college in Santa Clara or Santa Cruz counties as part of the local guarantee, Kato said.

Impacted majors range from justice studies and pre-nursing to computer engineering and psychology, according to the SJSU admission website. 

Business, Kato said, was among the first majors to become impacted in 2010.

She said assigned undeclared students 30 units to get into a major, whether it was their original major of choice or a different major, before they were disqualified.

She said that she and other advisers have conversations with students to figure out what major is best for them.

“Our job is to work with students,” Kato said, “help them find (out): Is business the best major?”

She said that sometimes a business major isn't what is best for the student, but rather a different major with a business minor.

“Sometimes (students would) be better off doing another major and a business minor,” Kato said, “and minors are not impacted … so that’s one thing that’s very important.”

From Fall 2010 through Fall 2012, there were 673 students who were assigned undeclared after applying to business, according to Kato.

Of the 673, Kato said, 21 remain undeclared, 545 now have a declared major and 239 are pursuing majors other than those for which they applied.

She said 45 students were disqualified for academic reasons.

“We have had seven students that we have (told) ‘You've exhausted your options here,’ but seven out of 673 is a really small (number,)” Kato said.

Malu Roldan, associate dean of the college of business, said that the college does what it can to help students be successful, whether it’s as a business major or something that’s a better fit for them.

“We try to find them majors,” Roldan said of undeclared business students.

One of the alternative options suggested by the SJSU advising hub is a sociology major with a business minor. 

“Sociology is one of a whole range of options,” Roldan said.

Sociology has a 2.0 GPA requirement, significantly lower than many business majors, with 2.4 being the lowest GPA requirement for a business concentration.

For students who are unable to get into the major because of their GPA, the sociology department’s lower requirement may be a reason for them to switch to sociology, said Wendy Ng, chair of the sociology and interdisciplinary social sciences department.

Ng said she sees many students come into sociology who weren't able to get into their original major of choice.

She said the usual students are from health sciences and pre-nursing, two of the impacted majors with some of the highest GPA requirements.

“(Students can) easily start and finish (a degree),” Ng said.

She said that students who aren't accepted into their original major of choice are often looking for majors that will accept them.

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