Changing Your Major: A How-To Guide
by Samantha Wagner | published Aug. 1st, 2017
As if deciding on a university was not hard enough, pinpointing an area of study can sometimes prove to be even more challenging.
"Nationwide, it is estimated that between 75 to 85 percent of students will change their major in their college career," said Marty Burris, the director of the University Exploration Program.
"Over the last couple years, 15 percent of students at RIT have changed their major."
Luckily, RIT is no stranger to this process. “If you exclude [the] exploratory programs ... over the last couple of years, 15 percent of students at RIT have changed their major,” Burris said.
Departments such as the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education, University Advising Office and the University Exploration program are readily available for students who are considering changing their major.
The list of resources can be overwhelming, so if you have no idea where to begin, checking in with your current academic adviser is usually a good place to start.
“The first thing I did was meet with my original adviser, as part of CAST, and I expressed my disinterest in my courses,” explained second year student Brandon Dcruz.
Dcruz was originally majoring in Computer Engineering Technology, in the College of Applied Science and Technology. After some meetings and research, he got pointed in the direction of the School of Individualized Studies (SOIS), where he has had the ability to create his own major.
SOIS is a good fit for many students but a different program may offer a better fit.
“University Studies would be a great place to start learning the university ... and also learn more about the majors to make a well informed choice about which is a better fit,” explained Lynne Mazadoorian, the director of the University Advising Office.
The University Exploration Program, once known as the University Studies Program, offers different ways for new students and internal transfers to find the best fit.
“They provide a home program for a student who is considering multiple majors within the university across colleges,” described Mazadoorian. “They also provide change-of-major advising for any student at the university who is trying to learn about new majors.”
Along with exploration and advising, RIT offers career counseling through the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education.
“Definitely try career counseling if you're unsure what you want to switch to,” advised Olivia Lopatofsky, a second year student who was in the process of switching out of Computer Science at time of press. While she still hasn't decided what field of study she will be switching to yet, she did report that the career counseling services have been extremely helpful.
“It really helps to have someone to talk to about the different majors and how you should go about picking. It really jump-started my search for the right major for me,” Lopatofsky added.
Overall, communication and taking initiative are the keys to successfully switching your major. Whatever the situation might be, RIT has plenty of resources to help their students find the best fit.
“We all have the same goal of helping students graduate from RIT, in order to begin their next step in their professional life,” Mazadooriran said. “If it’s a straight line, great, or if it takes a couple of diversions or a diversion — that’s okay too.”