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Changing Majors: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

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Are you thinking about changing your major?  You are not alone!  According to a study by the U S Department of Education, about 30% of undergraduates who declared a major changed it at least once within three years of initial enrollment.

Augusta University students are no different.  In fact, almost 30% of students changed their major in the fall semester of 2019, according to Dr. Lorraine Evans, Executive Director of Academic Success Center.

Finding the right “fit” in a major is important, so you need to ask yourself these questions before you change your major:

Why are you considering changing your major?

  1. Have you lost interest in your major classes or subject? Are you no longer interested in the career field that this major will take you?  If you answered yes to these questions, then it may be time to consider other majors. 
  • TIP:  It will be important for you to consider your interest, your skills/abilities, your personality and fit for a new major.  Schedule an appointment with a Career Consultant in Career Services and take some assessments to guide you through this process.  Also, go to Course Descriptions on the AU website and research the upper level classes in majors that interest you and monitor your excitement on taking those classes since your last two years will consist mostly of the “major related” classes.
  1. Are you not doing well academically in your major or feeling overwhelmed?  This may be a reason to change unless some of your core classes are required for you to get in the professional program or graduate program you’re aiming for.  If these core classes are needed and you’re struggling academically, seek help first before making major changes.
  • TIP:  Visit Academic Success Center for tutoring and other academic help and be sure to meet with your professors for guidance and strategies on how to be successful academically in each class

How will this affect your timeline for graduation?

  1. If you have completed less than 60 credit hours and have taken more “core” classes needed for all majors, this may not be a big concern.  However, if you completed several “major required” classes and/or you’re considering changing from a Bachelor of Arts to a Bachelor of Science, or vice versa, you need to be aware of the time now needed to complete required course work and graduation requirements.  This may postpone your original graduation date, ultimately costing you more money and time in school.
  • TIP:  Meet with your Academic Advisor as soon as possible to discuss the timeframe if you were to change your major, what courses are required, and what you have already completed that satisfies requirements for this major.

Ultimately, the big factors to consider are COST and TIME.

In relation to the COST factor, you will need to ask yourself:

  1. Can I afford to take out more loans if changing my major takes more than four years?
  2. If my parents are paying for my education, will they continue to pay if I don’t graduate in four years?
  3. If you have scholarships, will they extend beyond four years?

In relation to your TIME frame, ask yourself:

  1. Am I ok with not graduating with my class in four years?
  2. Is it worth staying on for another semester or two?
  3. Ten years from now, will it matter how long it took me to graduate?

In many cases, students decide to change their majors regardless of the potential or real increase in cost and time.  Ultimately, you want to be interested, engaged, and happy with the major that you choose in college. Theologian Albert Schweitzer once said, “Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”  Remember this as you ask yourself the important questions above and I encourage you to take advantage of all the resources on campus in making this important decision. 

US Dept. of Education: https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018434.pdf

Contact Career Services here to schedule an appointment with a consultant and get your head start.

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The mission of the Career Services is to provide resources that help students explore career fields, plan career strategies, and obtain employment opportunities.

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