By Akash Shah
(As orginally published in the Ticker:http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-changing-your-major/)
Changing your major is common in college. According to NBC News, two out of three students entering undergraduate programs in the United States are undecided about their majors.
In addition, about 50 percent of American college students will change their majors at least once while in school. Students who have taken a well-rounded selection of coursework can make a more informed decision regarding major change.
At Baruch College, students well into the end of their junior year change majors and may even switch between the three schools, School of Public Affairs (SPA), Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and Zicklin School of Business.
Jennifer Harrington, undergraduate coordinator of the Office of Academic Programs at SPA, and Keisha McLeod, undergraduate coordinator of student affairs at Weissman, say that many students who considered themselves to be on the business track have contemplated changing their majors to public affairs or to a major at Weissman.
Furthermore, according to Judy Tse, director of undergraduate services at Zicklin, approximately 500 students have changed their major within Zicklin since January 2013.
There are several reasons why students change majors; most commonly, student’s interests and passion have changed.
Another reason is when a student is unable to meet certain academic requirements. For example, Harrington and McLeod explained that calculus is a Zicklin requirement, which often prompts students to reconsider their major choice.
Before you select a major, you should research what major is best for you. One way to do your research is by visiting the STARR Career Development Center and meeting with a career counselor.
You can also take career-related assessments like Focus 2, the Strong Interest Inventory, and the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to decide on your majors.
When deciding your major, be thorough in your self-assessment: try to identify your interests, key personality traits, your values, your skills and lifestyle preferences.
Since changing your major can impact your career objectives, you should explore prospective occupations and industries that correspond to your new major.
However, keep in mind that your major does not define your career trajectory.
For instance, you can be a psychology major interested in finance and pursuing a career in human resources. The skills you gain from your major can be applied to numerous fields.
Robert Freedman, academic counselor for the Office of the Dean at Zicklin, indicated that students should also perform academic self-assessments.
Specifically, if a student’s academic standing does not meet the departmental requirement, he or she should consider changing majors. Freedman suggested that students speak with their peers, professors and professionals to learn about their intended major and how it might relate to career opportunity.
After performing all the necessary assessments, student should take steps to create a plan for degree completion.
When creating an academic plan, meeting with an advisor at the Center for Academic Advisement can be beneficial.
The advisors can provide additional information about different majors offered at Baruch.
They will also help you to reevaluate the information in DegreeWorks and to plan which classes you should take during your remaining semesters at Baruch
If you decide to change your major, go to the registrar’s office to learn which documentation must be submitted. Also be aware that switching majors between different schools might entail additional steps.
Whether you are forced to change your major or you do so by choice, switching a major does not have to be the end of the world.
In fact, when you start to focus on all the opportunities that come with this change, it can bring clarity and optimism.
For many, this could be the first time that they have undertaken an in-depth self-assessment, and this could improve their chances of making a satisfying decision.