Changing major has pros and cons

Published by adviser, Author: Haley Barnes, Date: April 30, 2015
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Upon graduating high school, students are expected to come to college already knowing what they want to study and graduate in four years, but according to John Rindy, director of the career education and development office, 70 percent of college students nationwide will change their major once during college.

“The average high school graduate is aware of two percent, that’s right, two percent of the careers that exist and yet we ask them to choose a major and choose a job you want to do,” Rindy said. “It is foolish, but it is the same thing that all high schools expect students to be able to do, with little or typically no guidance.”

SRU offers over 130 majors and over 70 minors and Rindy said each major is able to be completed in eight semesters.  However, Rindy said that most high school seniors choose their major using a ‘dartboard’ by basing their decision off of what jobs are familiar and sound appealing. He said that most students base their major off of what makes money and sounds prestigious.

Rindy emphasized that students need to study something that they love because they will love going to class and will overall be more successful. He said that it is vital that a student’s interests, values, personality and abilities match their major.

“For example, earning C’s in high school science does not typically translate into As and Bs in college without major and dramatic changes in study habits,” Rindy explained. “Yet across the U.S. a lot of folks pursue degrees in areas where they did not necessarily have a lot of success in high school to begin with.”

He expressed that a student earning C’s, D’s and withdrawing from classes is more than likely not passionate about that field of study.

Rindy explained frequent major changing throughout college may affect a student’s ability to graduate in four years and that this may negatively impact a student’s career.

“The other thing that I can say is factual, because employers tell me this all of the time, is that employers like to hear that students graduate in eight semesters,” he said. “They see it as dedication, commitment and stick-to-itiveness.”

Rindy explained that any time a student comes to him with a resume with a date range that expands more than eight semesters, he suggests that the student removes the dates.

“Because some employers will penalize you for taking more than eight semesters,” he said.  “It is an easy thing for them to do too because they already get plenty of folks of traditional college age who in fact do graduation in eight semesters.

Rindy said it is possible for students to change their major and still graduate within four years, but that some majors are harder than other and certain requirements for majors are only offered during certain semesters.

In order to graduate in four years, a student needs to average about 15 credits per semester.

“If a learner cannot average 15 credits per semester, or 30 credits for academic year, or academic year plus summer, then they will obviously not graduate in 8 semesters,” he said. “Learners also need to remember that dropping below 12 credits any given semester can have financial aid implications too.  You need to be successful in 24 credits during an academic year to maintain most types of government-based aid.”

Rindy suggests SRU students take advantage of all of the on-campus resources, like the Office for Students With Disabilities and his office, which is located in Bailey Library.

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