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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Major misconceptions

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Confused student Color

 While percentages on how many students change their majors vary per school, one trend seems to be consistent: an average of 75 percent of students will change their majors at least once during their time in college according to Virginia Gordon’s data from the third edition of her book “The Undecided College Student: An academic and career advising challenge.”

In addition to individual academic advisors, Texas A&M houses three resource centers for students who are undecided about their degree or have career questions in general, including the career center, transitional academic programs and student counseling services.

Santana Simple, professional counselor in student counseling services, said that on average A&M student counseling services see about 24 to 26 clients per week during a semester with 50 percent of those appointments being career focused.

“Most students tend to relate it to a career. They ask ‘If I’m unsure about my major then what career can I have?’” Simple said. “Our approach is to understand the whole person and then from there we usually refer them to other offices for the specifics of if they can get into the major.”

Simple said anxiety and pressure from choosing the correct major is a recurring factor in the students concerns she sees at the student counseling center and advised students to come in as soon as they are having unsure thoughts about their major or career path.

“A lot of students are unsure of what they are looking for,” Simple said. “It’s such a big process in their life and it’s a big decision so there is a lot of fear of the unknown.”

Agriculture communication and journalism senior Katie Eckert changed her major twice at her previous university, Spartanburg Methodist College of  Spartanburg, N.C., and once at A&M where she said she found a more hands-on major.

“At A&M I realized I didn’t like the department I was in,” Eckert said. “I had heard a lot of people in the agriculture communication department talk about how it was a lot more hands-on and I transferred in.”

Eckert said that along with asking fellow classmates and students for opinions she also took a variety of classes that allowed her to explore where she wanted her career path to go.

“I’ve taken classes from a lot of the different colleges here on A&M’s campus and that is one thing looking back on my college career that I am really happy I did because it opened doors to see so many different majors and different jobs I could do outside of college,” Eckert said.

Finance graduate student Noah Pillans said he changed his major twice as an undergraduate student beginning in biochemistry transferring to political science and ended in economics.

“It was nice between political science and economics,” Pillans said. “The transfer between the two was nice because the curriculums were so similar. Basically as long as I had the GPA they knew I was not going to have any problems changing classes or having a whole bunch of credits that wouldn’t transfer over.”

While Pillans said he had a relatively smooth transition he also noted that for some students the transition is not so simple. Although, he said the trouble is well worth it.

“I have heard from some other students that transfer in between one major to a completely different major in a different college that it gets a little more hairy because some classes don’t transfer for credit,” Pillans said. “But it was well worth me going through the slight jumping through hoops to get something I enjoyed a lot more.”

Technology management senior Francisco Careta had a similar experience to Pillans in that his process of changing majors between various engineering disciplines was administratively simple, but said that the process of discovering what he wanted to pursue was more difficult.

“Nautical is what I started out in and then I went into mechanical, then electrical, then both computers and then I switched into TCMG,” Careta said. “Because all of [the majors] were still engineering centered it wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t really losing too many hours… The real difficulty was that I was switching around trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.”

Careta said that a tip he would give students questioning their major is to ask around for advice from upperclassmen and find what you are passionate about in life.

“Talk to somebody more senior than you. It’s hard sometimes trying to relate to advisors or professors because times have changed. A lot of the professors when I tried to talk to them about this kind of stuff they were still under the stigma that you should not change [majors] at all, even if you hate it, you just have to power through and finish out,” Careta said. 

Careta said that as long as students find their passions their career success will follow.  

“For me it seems super crazy that I never came to the conclusion sooner,” Careta said. “I was always building computers in high school and I was always doing a lot of stuff related to that… once I figured all of that stuff out I was like ‘Wow this is what I need to do for the rest of my life.’”

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