Students get to pursue own interests

Updated: 2013-05-08 05:51

By Jin Beibei and Ma Chenguang in Hefei (China Daily)

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A program to ensure college students study subjects they are interested in, rather than what is chosen for them, is proving popular.

A trial period of the program has run successfully since last semester, says Chen Chusheng, vice-president of the University of Science and Technology of China.

An online platform for the program is being established, Chen says.

College applicants in China need to choose majors when applying for college. But sometimes students, for a number of reasons, are not able to study their top choices.

Universities, including Peking University and Wuhan University, are now offering a second chance to students to switch their majors after enrollment. USTC has been allowing students on campus to change majors since 2002.

"But in reality, due to limited teaching resources, not every student is successful in changing their majors," Chen says.

In 2011, some 28 students at USTC failed in their attempt to change their majors, according to Yang Fan, a member of the teaching management faculty of USTC.

But since December, these students can study their choice of major on their own and with the help of a professional team of 25 professors from different schools and dozens of managerial staff members.

Even if they are refused by the target schools, the students can get a recognized diploma and certificate in their target majors from the university if they achieve the required credits.

An online platform is being built, by which students can apply for guidance from the team and get to know how many credits they need and what courses to sit in to get the target diploma, according to Yang.

The program is meaningful to students, says Zhou Dan, a 23-year-old senior of USTC.

"Switching majors is one of the most crucial decisions to us as it relates closely to our future career development and life," says Zhou, who made her major declaration three years ago.

"With the support (of a dedicated team), we can pursue our desired road without much fear or hesitation, which is a meaningful step in our growth."

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(China Daily 05/08/2013 page18)