|Changing a major should not cause concern|
|Written by Vanessa Nagel, Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 21 February 2013 14:36|
Every 5-year-old answers the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Common responses are teachers, doctors or artists. Thirteen years later, college students realize this question is one of the toughest to answer.
The staff at the Office of Planning, Research and Policy Analysis says that for 2012 ISU graduates, 25 percent changed majors only once and 4 percent changed majors three times. This data does not include changes into or out of the “undeclared” status.
ISU provides countless resources for students looking to change their major. Students should use the resources available on campus, particularly academic advisers and faculty, to weigh options and make the best decision.
“If a student thinks his/her current major is not a good fit, do research into what would be a good fit. The majors website on the ISU homepage provides a wealth of information about every single major at Illinois State, application requirements, sample plans of study and the GPA range of admitted students,” Amelia Noël-Elkins, Director of University College, said.
“That information, plus meeting with a professional adviser on campus can help a student make the decision to change majors or not. University College provides transitional advising services for students going through this process,” she added.
Transitional advising provides self-directed resources available online to assist students in making a major change. Students can also follow step-by-step instructions off the website to seek assistance from a professional adviser on campus.
“Understand your own priorities and reasons for considering a major change,” Noël-Elkins said.
“For some students, it is a very practical decision: a different
major might speed up graduation and, therefore, the student may incur
less educational debt or be able to tend to personal family
responsibilities … For other students, it may be the realization that
their academic and career passions lie elsewhere,” she added.
A common concern in making the decision to change majors is whether
or not a student can graduate in four years. Earning a degree in four
years is still possible in some cases, while others can set students
back a few semesters.
“Switching to a major with very similar requirements may not impact
graduation date. However, making a switch to a major with significantly
different requirements could delay graduation. Additionally, changing
majors late in an academic career is likely to impact graduation date,”
Aside from graduating on time, one of the most important steps in
pursuing a major change is considering plans after graduation.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people change their jobs around 11 times in their careers. Students should pick a major that can carry them through a lifetime of potential job changes, not just the job immediately after college,” Noël-Elkins said.