Meta-Majors Get Students on Track

By Jordy Acevedo

Meta-majors provide global areas of study for students to pick from that will help them graduate sooner. New program launches at College of Southern Nevada March 1.

Rosalyn Jimenez, CSN recruiter and former academic advisor, explains, “Imagine yourself as an exiting senior in high school and it’s time to apply for college where you have to choose from a list of over 200 degrees and certificates. The idea of having to choose one single pathway that will dictate the next two-to-four years of your life is daunting in itself but it can be more so when you don’t even know what you want to do.”

“Oftentimes what we see on the staff-end is that students are debilitated by choice especially when there are so many to choose from,” Jimenez says. “This is where the increase in changing majors stems from and that issue spurs even more issues: excess credit and no degree, taking random credits that don’t apply to one single degree or taking longer to graduate.”

Meta-majors simplifies it so a student would choose an area he or she is interested in with no need to choose a specific major till end of first year.

Jimenez continues, “Implementing Meta-majors will make the college process more manageable for students because it breaks down a big task into smaller and more attainable checkpoints. For example, we have a student who isn’t quite sure what he or she wants to do but he or she knows that he or she wants to go into the arts. The student will select one of the areas of study related to the arts. Degrees in the same cluster have similar if not entirely the same general-education credits. The student can start his or her first semester knowing that if he or she chooses let’s say theater over music, it will be easier to shift general-education requirements within the same area of study than it would be to shift credits from nursing to psychology.”

As another example, if a student decides to venture off into the world of nursing, he or she may decide to approach the academic umbrella known as Health Science. The student can explore various courses to land on the perfect career track and oftentimes will graduate sooner.

If a student wants to become a professional chef he or she may decide to drift off into Hospitality and Culinary Arts. The student will eventually decide what specific type of chef to be based on the courses offered through the Meta-major.

Kimiko Walton, director of Student Recruitment and College Connections, said, “Areas of study will assist with getting students on the right pathway to graduation from point of entry.”

According to Complete College America’s “Pathways to Success Boosting College Completion” 2017 report, part of the problem for students who are not in a school that offers Meta-majors includes taking too much time to graduate, taking too many credits, spending too much money and not graduating at all.

Typically, according to the report, it takes 3.9 years for full-time students and 5.5 years for part-time students to graduate with an associate degree. As results prove, graduation rates were up 20 percent in past 10 years at Georgia State University with the implementation of Meta-majors. At Arizona State University, 91 percent of students deemed on-track went up from 22 percent prior to Meta-majors starting at the school. At Tennessee Technology Centers, more than 75 percent of students graduate at a rate three-times higher than peers at non Meta-majors institutions.

What this means is that Meta-majors leads to higher student success and graduation rates.

CSN will provide 11 options for areas of study: Art and Design; Biological and Physical Science; Business; Education; Engineering and Information Technology; Health Sciences; Hospitality and Culinary Arts; Humanities and Communication; Public Safety; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Industry, Manufacturing, Construction and Transportation. Through exploration and advisement, students get on their pathways sooner.

Nationwide, Meta-majors are on the rise in places such as California State University, Georgia State University and smaller schools such as Alvin Community College. The Florida College System, in charge of 28 colleges across the state, recognizes Meta-majors favorably and implements it in all of its schools.

Other educational institutions have smaller lists of Meta-majors. Skyline College in California, for example, only recognizes four areas of study as official Meta-majors, according to the College.

Alejandro Floresa, CSN student, said, “I have chosen and changed four majors since starting my college career. I went from journalism to business to deaf studies to nursing. I should have chosen nursing sooner and I regret not doing so. This Meta-major deal would have helped me out so much.”

Silvya Ardon, CSN student, said, “I’ve actually known about Meta-majors for a while now. I’m almost in my final semester, but if I had known about Meta-majors earlier in my college career, I would have stressed out so much less. I think I would have graduated earlier, too. I would even go as far as to say I would have had an entirely different major.”

Kaila Cordeiro, CSN student, said, “I had no idea of Meta-majors until today. I think the idea of a broad major helping students out to find their specific major is honestly genius. I think being able to implement that at CSN would be very good.

Nicholas Fitch, CSN student, said, “This is my first year at CSN and I am completely overwhelmed. I have no clue what I want to major in and I feel like I do not want to keep going with my education until I do. I don’t know much about Meta-majors, but it seems like it would have helped me make up my mind in one way or another.”

Jocelyn Escalera, CSN student, said, “I think it could help people who are really struggling in choosing a major. If CSN can manage to lead students to graduation faster with this system than that would be wonderful.”

For more information please visit the Pathways for Student Success page at

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