By: Katelyn Snyder
Center Spread Editor
When students enter college they are faced with many difficult and seemingly permanent decisions, but their areas of study do not need to fall into this category. Changing or personalizing degrees is a normal and acceptable especially early in one’s college career.
“There is definitely a perception that changing your major is bad,” said Allison Davis, who recently changed her major from nutrition and dietetics to psychology. “I spent about a month stressing about it because I didn’t want to mess my life up. (People) think that if you don’t know what you want to do as a freshman, you’re screwed. ”
According to Barbara Hinkle, Vice President for Enrollment Services and Registrar, approximately one-third of students change majors at SHU. “ We encourage, if (students) don’t know what they want to do, to try something and we will help you out if we can,” said Hinkle.
Tightly scheduled majors cause the largest problem with changing majors. Science and math-related majors depend on a very inflexible schedule of classes for each year. “If (a student) changes to a major like chemistry, (he or she) can count on an extra year, or at least summer school,” said Hinkle.
“Parents often worry that students are never going to be able to finish school if they change majors,” said Hinkle.
“My mom kind of freaked once I told her because she was surprised since nutrition has always been what I wanted,” said Davis.
“(My parents) were really upset at first, until they realized how unhappy I was,” said Adrienne Bracken, who changed her major from physician’s assistant to English education.
Some students prefer to add minors instead of changing majors. “To the outside world, minors don’t mean much, except they are a support thing,” said Hinkle. “Minors are basically for a student’s interest.”
Minors can be added and dropped with a simple form from the Registrar’s office and consist of approximately 18 credits.
In more extreme situations, students have to transfer schools to get the educational experience they desire. “Sometimes students discover that they want a major that we simply don’t offer,” said Hinkle. “That being said, our retention rate at SHU is 75-80% from freshman to sophomore year. That’s good for a school our size. Our goal is always to do better.”
“We try to let students know what they are getting into so they don’t feel like they have to leave,” Hinkle continued, “and we (in the registrar office) try to work with all the offices at SHU to help student’s find their best fit.”
The Registrar office encourages students to meet with their advisors and talk over any changes they are considering, according to Hinkle.
“I met with my P.A. advisor and he was really helpful and encouraged me to move into a major that would make me happier,” said Bracken. “I felt a lot better about my decision after meeting with him.
”Whatever decisions students make, Hinkle stresses one point: “No learning is ever wasted. Even if you change majors or schools, you don’t lose what you learned.”