Changing majors: what to do before you make the switch

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November 8, 2013
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November 8, 2013

Changing majors: what to do before you make the switch

Last week, The Collegian ran an article on what to do after midterm grades, and some of you are saying, “I’ve tried all that, and it’s not working. I think I just need to change my major.” But before making such a big decision, first consider a few suggestions.

Last week, The Collegian ran an article on what to do after midterm grades, and some of you are saying, “I’ve tried all that, and it’s not working. I think I just need to change my major.” But before making such a big decision, first consider a few suggestions.

Don’t make a hasty decision.
“Don’t make any decision based on one test score,” said Academic Resource Center transition adviser Jane Smith. She said she often sees students looking to change their majors right after midterms or other big tests. But decisions regarding a major should not be made hastily.

The first nine weeks are a big adjustment period, especially for freshmen, and midterms are not always a reflection of whether or not you’re succeeding in your major. Doing poorly does not always indicate that you need to change your major. Sometimes you just need to learn how to study differently. “Sometimes it’s just getting over that hump,” Smith said. “You still have half a semester to do well.”

Seek counsel.
Whenever you’re struggling academically, it’s always a good idea to ask for help, but it’s especially important to seek counsel if you are considering changing your major. The Academic Resource Center offers transition advising, which provides tools, resources and ideas to aid you in your quest for the right major. It’s also important to talk to your parents and close friends — the people who really know you. “Your friends see who you are in a different perspective than you do,” said Ashley Campbell, a freshman who changed her major from health, fitness and recreation to early childhood education.

Follow God’s leading.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a major, and others may be able to offer some insight that you have overlooked.

Bernadette Nichols, a sophomore who switched from nursing to cross-cultural service, stresses the importance of going to God as your ultimate source of counsel. “Spend a lot of time in prayer about it and be open to God’s leading,” she said.

Go with what you love.
Often students come to college with preconceived ideas about what they want to do, Smith said. They choose a specific major because they think they’ll be successful or make lots of money, only to realize later that they have no interest in it. “If you’re going to go into a specific field, you really have to have a passion for it,” she said. And sometimes you don’t realize your passion for a certain area until you try it.

Stick with it.
Out of the almost 270 students on average who change their majors each year, 150 are freshman and around 80 are sophomores. Smith said she generally likes to see students in the right major by the end of their sophomore year.

For upperclassmen struggling with their majors, she suggests staying put. “Sometimes you just have to stick it out and finish it,” she said. “We often like to have everything planned out and know exactly what we’re going to do after college, but it’s okay not to have a specific goal. Not every history major becomes a historian,” Smith said. In fact, that’s the advantage of BJU’s liberal arts core. It’s okay to major in something simply because you enjoy it — just let God show you what to do with it.

Smith’s final admonition is that if we are “every day doing what we know is right, then God is going to lead us and show us where He wants us to be.”