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What to Know about Changing Majors

By: Jessica Hernandez Blanco

The college application process is difficult for students, as they must make serious decisions for their future. Deciding what to major in is even more difficult for some students.

Choosing a major is not always up to students. Pressure from parents and financial situations also play a role in determining what career path a student embarks on.

At a young age, this decision can be overwhelming. Often, students don’t realize what they truly want to do until they are well into their college years.

Junior business management major Mia Randall is an example of this. By the end of her freshman year at Barry, Randall did not feel that sports management, her previous major, was a good fit for her.

Randall recommends changing your major as fast as possible.

On the contrary, for Michelle Etchebaster-Martins, an exercise physiology major, changing her major was a part of a careful self-discovering process. After studying chemical engineering in Argentina, Etchebaster-Martins was brought to Barry by scholarship, where she planned to study in the sports field.

However, when she was two years away from earning her degree in Argentina, she realized that chemical engineering was not for her.

“When I finished high school, I did not have the courage to follow my dreams,” said Etchebaster-Martins. “My family thought that I would waste my time studying a major in the sports field. They said I had the potential to study something more serious.”

Due to her parents’ influence, Etchebaster-Martins did not join the sports field as she desired. She completed three years before she decided to change her major.

“I felt so empty in the industrial environment,” said Etchebaster-Martins.

Thus, once given the opportunity, she began to follow her true dream, studying sports physiology.

Once Etchebaster-Martins changed her major, she realized that there were many different majors in the sports area and what she really wanted came to her mind.

“When I first came, I was not aware of all the different majors offered at Barry,” said Etchebaster-Martins. “So, my freshman year [at Barry], I studied applied sports and exercise science with an orientation in coaching.”

Finally, she discovered her true passion. Etchebaster-Martins explains that her academic advisor provided her must-needed assistance during this time. This helped her switch majors without any drastic consequences.

On the contrary, Guia Ferguson, senior psychology major experienced poor advising, which led her to changing her major from biology to psychology during her junior year.

“I had four advisors and I felt I was not given the correct information about classes I needed to take for gradation,” said Ferguson. “My advisors suggested changing my major because they did not think I could get into medical school.”

Similarly, Martina Muñoz Chalan, junior finance and international business major, changed her major during her sophomore year, which added a year to her college plan.

“I lost a lot of credits because I took a lot of biology and chemistry courses, so I will be graduating one year late,” she noted.

Dr. Sean Foreman, professor of political science and department chair, recognizes the difficulty of trying to pick the right major on your first try.

“For some it comes easy. They know what they want to do, and they pursue it wholeheartedly. Others have multiple interests and want to explore different options,” said Dr. Foreman.

“There is no one magical formula.”

He advises students to change their major as soon as possible, and to make sure to fulfill the prerequisite courses on time.

“You probably don't want to [change majors] more than once, because you risk losing time or having credits that you have earned not count for the requirements that you need,” Dr. Foreman added.

Changing majors has proved costly and untimely through Barry student’s experience. It is recommended that students change their majors as soon as they begin to feel disconnected with their current line of study.

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