Student Success Stories

Learn more about our successful students

There are more than 19,000 undergraduate students at IU Indianapolis, each with a unique background and experience. Hearing other students’ stories and their strategies for success can help in navigating and making the most of your college career. Highlighted below are a few of the many successful IU Indianapolis students.

December 2019—Birdie Ratliff

This month we're celebrating a former exploratory major and University College student, Birdie Ratliff!

Birdie is a junior who started at IUPUI as an exploratory major. She wanted to attend IUPUI because it wasn't too far from family, but also not too close. Since she was unsure what she wanted to major in, the advisors at orientation recommended exploratory. This was right for her because she was able to explore different fields and majors to determine which major best suited her.

Birdie took many different courses during her freshman and sophomore years before changing her major. She discovered what courses and fields she liked and disliked.

After frequent meetings with the University College exploratory advisors, Birdie discovered sustainable management and policy. She is very eco-friendly and cares about recycling and saving the planet, so she felt like this could be the perfect major. Some careers she’s considering include working for the U.S. National Parks Service or for city parks. She even has an internship with Keeping Indianapolis Beautiful where she will help with community gardens and tree plantings.

Birdie’s main strategies for success are time management and prioritization. Planning out coursework and study time helps with accomplishing important assignments and tasks on time. She also attends study groups regularly for her courses. Hearing other people’s perspectives and learning processes can help with better understanding of content.

Birdie suggests meeting with the University College exploratory advisors frequently because they are very helpful with the exploration of majors and even with discovering majors you might not know exist.

A common misconception of starting as an exploratory major is that you won’t finish on time; however, Birdie didn’t change her major to sustainable management and policy until the end of her sophomore year and has the opportunity to graduate a semester early. Don’t be scared to explore majors if you’re not sure what you want to do yet. Birdie even said, “I don’t think I would have found my major if I didn’t do exploratory.”