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College Life | Classroom | Financial Aid | Undergraduate

So, what are your plans for next year?

Tired of that question yet, high school graduates? We can help. South Dakota State University prides itself on accomplishing its mission to provide the benefits of a four-year degree to thousands every year and allow them to pursue their dreams. While some students come to Brookings with a four-year plan mapped out, many others arrive still trying to find their career path. Regardless of where you are, you will discover new dreams along the way as a Jackrabbit.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

If you answered, “I don’t know,” you’re not alone. Many students enter South Dakota State University without declaring a major or are undecided about where they want to be in four years. To help these students, SDSU created a program with five different tracks, allowing you to explore degrees within the major fields of study. Each track exposes you to specific insights about careers and opportunities within specific fields of study while fulfilling your general education requirements.


If I pick the wrong major or am not sure what I want to do, am I wasting my time?

No! One common misconception is that once you've chosen a major, you are stuck forever, which isn’t true. A lot of people change career paths not only during their time in college but also throughout their lives. Taking the first step toward earning your four-year degree and enrolling at South Dakota State can keep you ahead of the curve and set you up with career options you might not even know exist – or maybe don’t exist yet.


A journalism major may look to start as a reporter, but transition into public relations, fundraising or foundation work. The skills gained from a four-year college degree extend into our everyday lives, whether we’re volunteering at a favorite charity or running for an elected position in local government or an orgnaization.


Investing in You

College is an investment, no doubt, both in time and money.


Enrolling without a clear-cut plan may seem like a risk, but really, it’s the beginning stage of setting yourself up for success down the road. Individuals with four-year degrees earn on average $30,000 more each year than those who only have a high school diploma.


Not only will it provide you with the academic training and skills needed to succeed once you choose a career path but beginning your college career gives you the opportunity to gain power skills tied to writing, communications, problem-solving, critical thinking and exposure to new perspectives and backgrounds — all of which are invaluable in today’s job market.


That investment is given back to you through dedicated faculty and staff help you along the way. 2021 graduate Hattie Seten was named as South Dakota State University’s second-ever Rhodes Scholar in November and credits the one-on-one attention as vital to her success.


“I’ve had a lot of one-on-one support that I don’t think other students have had,” Seten said in a recent interview. “It’s being able to go on a camping trip with faculty members, it’s being able to talk for hours or go out to lunch or coffee with your professor (or) being able to stop in office hours. That is one of our strengths. That individualized support has really helped me get to where I am at right now.


Where can I get started?

Are you already admitted to SDSU for this fall 2021? If so, your next step is to register for one of our New Student Orientation sessions held in June. During NSO, you’ll work one-on-one with an adviser from our exploratory studies program to plan your course schedule for your first two semesters on campus and start building the foundation to explore your options for a major and future career. You will likely take a specific course or two that focuses on your strengths, interests, and how they line up with possible major and career options, as well as exploration of various career paths. You can find more information about registering for NSO.


If you haven’t yet applied to SDSU, it’s not too late. Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2021 semester. You have plenty of time to apply, be admitted and take your next steps this summer toward a strong start in our exploratory studies pathways this fall. List one of our Exploratory Studies tracks as your planned major on your application as you apply. The steps you take now will set you up for success as you start to pursue a valuable four-year degree at South Dakota State University.


We are here to help! Contact the SDSU Office of Admissions for assistance!