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6 Points to Ponder Before Changing Your Major

Students are often pressured to select a college major before college even begins. If classes have started and you just don’t feel like you’ve made the right choice, it may be time to reevaluate. Here are some things to consider before you make the jump from one major to another.

Think through your new interest

You may find yourself going through a rough time. This can lead to decisions that you wouldn’t normally make. So, before you change your major, determine why you want to do so. If you just had a bad experience in one class, don’t let that get you down. If you had a rough semester because of roommate or family issues, evaluate that. If you had a life changing event that prompted your interest in a new course of study, or if you are having difficulty with every single course, it may be time to make a change.

Talk to your advisor

Discussing your intentions with your advisor is one of the most important things to do. Changing majors can often extend your college career and cost more money. You need to be sure a new major is right for you and determine whether or not you have the time and finances to pursue another path. Additionally, your advisor may tell you that your concerns are very common and that you may want to wait before making a final decision.

Talk to other students

Talk to students who are majoring in what you are considering. Ask questions about their thoughts on the program so far. What do they enjoy or dislike about their major? How do they feel about the professors and potential career opportunities? What are their career goals? If their interests and career goals match yours, you may be more confident that the change is right for you.

Review the coursework

What kind of classes are required for the major you’re considering? If the classes excite you, you may be on the right path. However, if there are never ending math classes and your strong subject is writing, you may want to reconsider. Don’t be afraid of your challenging yourself, but be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.

Review the job market

Visit your campus career center to learn more about careers in your current major vs. those in your potential major. Where are there the most jobs? Are people actually hiring in the field you’re considering? Remember, you want to find a career you will enjoy and succeed at. You also need to determine if the salary, living situation and job locations fit your expectations.

Make a list

Once you’ve completed the suggestions listed above, make a list of the pros and cons of each major, as well as the pros and cons of changing your major. This will help you see the big picture. You may decide you’re not quite ready for a change and that you need more time to think about it.

Selecting a college major is an important decision, and not one to be taken lightly. However, remember that your major will rarely limit you to one career path for the rest of your life. Your strengths and passions, combined with your education can help you land a dream job that has nothing to do with what you majored in.

Parents! Help Make College Life an Easy Transition for Your Child

College is a huge step in life. It is stepping outside of a more structured environment to pursue interests that will impact one’s future. It is a time to explore a new environment, meet new people and challenge ideas. Here you will find a few ways to support your child through this change, while still allowing them the freedom to grow.

Write

If your child is away from home, mail from someone familiar can be both exciting and comforting. Encourage other family members to send letters and cards as well. You can write about what’s been happening at home, how other family members are doing, or share a funny story. Don’t be upset if your child doesn’t write back. The independence of college is exciting and often leaves little free time, but your actions let them know you’re thinking about them.

Care Packages

Receiving a box with your name on it is always a nice surprise. Create a box of your child’s favorite snacks from home, a new movie or book, a gift card or something for their new home on campus. Send silly things just to make them laugh, or create a small photo album of recent happenings at home. You can send care packages as encouragement around exam dates, or on any other day throughout the year.

Question Carefully

As a parent, you will be curious to know everything about your child’s new environment and routine. Avoid nagging and remember that your child wants to experience some independence. They will probably not tell you everything. Encourage their independence, but remind them that you are only a phone call away.

Happiness, Not Homesickness

It is not recommended that you ask your child if they’re homesick. They may be so busy the first few weeks of school that they aren’t even thinking about home. Asking that one question could really change their mood. Instead, focus on the positive things. Share the positive things happening at home and ask questions about college in a positive manner.

Visit 

Most universities have parent weekends. After discussing it with your child, make plans to visit so they can show you around. Treat them to dinner if you can, or bring them something special from home. You can visit at other times of the year, but it’s best to arrange these times with your child. You never know what they have going on with school and it’s important to respect their independence, new responsibilities and new routine.

Encourage Responsibility 

Give your child the freedom to handle schedules, deadlines and budgets. Don’t pressure them into selecting a specific major or class, or into joining a specific activity. It’s acceptable to let them know you will always be there to offer guidance, but allow them the chance to grow and learn from mistakes that will not cause any real harm.

The best thing you can do for your child is to let them know you care, and you will be there when you are needed. They will find comfort as you simultaneously acknowledge their new stage in life, and offer the stability and comfort provided the previous stage.

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