Major Exploration Academic Advising

Major Exploration serves as the advising home for Saint Louis University students who are deciding or reconsidering an academic major.

Unlike other academic advising offices, major exploration advising offers you ongoing, structured support through a dedicated University 101 course tailored to help you orient to SLU.

The goal of major exploration academic advising is to guide you in identifying your skills, interests and abilities so you can apply this knowledge to your major decision. We want you to feel comfortable discussing various majors without feeling pressured or judged. We are specifically trained in working with undecided students and are knowledgeable about all majors and associated curriculums. We are here to help you discern, decide and be successful.

The Student Role

To be successful in major exploration, all students must:

  • Enroll in the University 101 course designed specifically for students deciding on a major.
  • Be prepared for all meetings and classes, having reflected on previous topics of discussion.
  • Set goals that are related to major decision and academic success.
  • Share insight about areas of study that you find interesting and engaging.
  • Establish and maintain communication with your academic adviser, career development specialist and faculty.
  • Familiarize yourself with the University’s policies and procedures, academic structure, undergraduate catalog and your academic program of interest.
  • Become knowledgeable about and use available academic resources, services and programs.

The Role of the Academic Adviser

  • Protect and secure the integrity of a SLU degree by enforcing all University and departmental policies and requirements.
  • Aid students in developmental transitions, such as high school to college.
  • Support students through the major exploration process.
  • Assist students in creating curriculum plans and reviewing academic performance.
  • Clarify the program and curriculum requirements particularly as they relate to the University mission.
  • Introduce students to resources for academic and career related success.
  • Encourage students to develop skills that will lead to self-ownership.
  • Clarify the purpose and roles within the Integrated Advising and Mentoring System.
  • Be available, approachable and display a genuine interest in each advisee

Major Exploration Academic Requirements

Students must adhere to the requirements for good academic standing as outlined in the Saint Louis University undergraduate academic catalog.

Major exploration students who are placed on academic probation will receive additional support to promote academic retention and success. Each major exploration student will be required to complete a self-assessment and meet with Megan Shaffer, major exploration academic advising program director, within the first two weeks of the upcoming semester. Failure to complete this meeting will result in a hold being placed on the student's account.

Major exploration students who have been dismissed from SLU for academic reasons, but have petitioned for and been approved for reinstatement are admitted on special probation. These students will receive additional support to promote academic retention and success and must complete a required meeting with Megan Shaffer and a student success coach within the first two weeks of the upcoming semester. Failure to complete this meeting will nullify the student's reinstatement and the student will be dismissed.

Time Requirements for Declaring a Major

Although Saint Louis University does not require you to declare your major by a specific deadline, the major exploration advising program has an expectation that you will make a choice by the end of your second semester. If you do continue in major exploration after your second semester, you will be required to complete additional exploration activities and advising meetings.

Approximately 30 percent of students who start with our office in the fall will declare their major after one semester with our office. After two semesters of working with our office, approximately 90 percent of students have declared their major.

If you have not declared a major after two consecutive semesters of working with the major exploration adviser, or one semester if you are a transfer student with 30 or more credits, you will be asked to complete a duration policy petition explaining what exploration activities you have completed as well as what you hope to accomplish with an additional semester with major exploration. You must petition for every semester thereafter.

Frequency of Advising Sessions

First-time freshmen advisees are required to enroll in University 101 for major exploration and meet with their adviser at least once. All advisees in their second semester are required to meet with their academic adviser at least twice and a career development specialist at least once each semester. Typically advisees meet with their advisers every three to four weeks.