By: Sam O'Keefe

Finding Your Match

One in 300: The Journey to Choosing a Major

With more than 300 degree programs to choose from at the University of Missouri, the Discovery Center helps students create the unique Mizzou path that’s the best fit for them.

Path to Discovery

Sophia Bianco

Mizzou senior Sophia Bianco entered college not knowing what she wanted to study or how to shape her career. It felt like a big decision to choose a major at 18, so she was excited to see she could designate herself an exploring student on her Mizzou application for exploring students – those who aren’t ready to declare a major.

“Growing up I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do,” Bianco said.

Her first year at Mizzou, Bianco enrolled in Student Success Center 1150- Discover where she explored degree program course curricula and interviewed professionals about their careers. She used the resources from the Discovery Center to create her own criteria for narrowing down her list of potential majors.

“When it was time for me to declare I ended up making a March Madness bracket of the 10 majors I had left,” Bianco said.

The following year, Bianco took a job as a Discovery Center peer advisor, helping students develop skills that will support them in as they navigate choosing a major and pursuing career interests. She said it is exciting to share the joy with a student when they discover their path.

Today, Bianco is planning to graduate a semester early with a major in communications, a minor in digital storytelling and a certificate in arts entrepreneurship. She aspires to work as a photographer in the music industry.

Path to Success

Alison Lee

Discovery Center senior advisor Alison Lee has more than 16 years of experience working with a diverse population of students.

“I love the exploring population because we’re really helping them choose the right fit for them,” said Lee. “It’s so rewarding, not only for them but for us, when you find that a student says, ‘Yes, this is the major for me.’”

Part of the success at the Discovery Center is connecting exploring students in the SSC 1150- Discover class and sharpening their career-building skills according to Lee. Like Bianco, Lee’s experiences in her undergraduate studies shaped her future career.

“I loved the resources I got when I was a student,” Lee said. “This career felt like the right fit of environment for me.”

Lee helps students learn about themselves using tools like the Clifton Strengths assessment, National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) competencies, and professional networking conversations.

The Discovery Center helps students find their community on campus through student organizations and campus employment and involvement. This multi-pronged approach helped Bianco gain the confidence to take control of her career development.

“It is easy to play a passive role in your education and keep coasting until you graduate,” said Bianco. “Being an exploring student gave me the foundation to be an active participant.”

Did you know?

  • Mizzou offers 300 majors.
  • Nearly 500 first-year students at Mizzou designate themselves as exploring each year, making it the second-most popular major on campus.