CORVALLIS - Oregon State University's skill in helping students find their niche in college has earned honors from the National Academic Advising Association.

The OSU University Exploratory Studies Program will receive an Outstanding Institutional Advising Program Certificate of Merit as part of the association's national awards program.

At OSU, the University Exploratory Studies Program operates as an advising program for students who are exploring majors, but program advisors are also available to all undergraduate students.

Educators say the number of students who are undecided about their majors has been rising. At OSU, the university counted some 380 undecided students in fall 1995, jumping to 389 in 1996, 502 in 1997 and 600 in fall 1998, said Stephanie Hamington, coordinator of the OSU University Exploratory Studies Program.

For more than 15 years, the 5,000-member National Academic Advising Association has honored individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising. The association is based at Kansas State University.

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Stephanie Hamington, 541-737-2131