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New online tool streamlines exploration of degree options

Administrators recently launched a new online tool, which has streamlined the process of comparing and exploring degree options at Stanford.

The new Stanford site allows students to apply filtering mechanisms to reflect individuals’ interests in majors, minors and even joint degree programs while also helping them find new information they may not have previously considered, said Sharon Palmer, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Palmer remembers that the idea for the tool originated several years ago during a meeting of a group of colleges. At the event, Brown University showcased an organizational website called Focal Point that made Palmer and Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Harry Elam realize that something similar was needed at Stanford.

Palmer noted that the site has particular promise with freshmen who have a greater chance at exploring different academic fields but also hopes upperclassmen make use of it.

“I also think that any student who is looking at, ‘you know, maybe I’ll add a minor, maybe I’ll do a co-term, maybe I’ll do honors,’ it certainly has those capacities for students who are further along,” Palmer said, “as well as those who are just starting out their educational career.“

Although the Stanford Bulletin allows students to compare majors, Palmer said that it is more cumbersome to do this in the Bulletin than in the new site. Palmer sees the tool as serving a distinct role in relation to other resources for students learning about majors.

“It is intended to be complimentary to what is in the Bulletin and what is on the department websites,” Palmer said, “not just substitute or duplicate that information but instead provide one additional tool for students who are exploring their options.”

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