You can change your mind and your major!
Considering the University of Florida offers a multitude of degrees; how is one to choose? Most students begin college with some idea of what they want to study, but it is not uncommon for them to change majors. My own children; I have two, considered changing their major but, after seeing how far behind it would put them, chose to add a minor to round out their degree.
Changing and choosing a major isn’t always easy. There are several ways you can support your student as they are trying to decide or consider changing a major. One of the main reasons students reconsider or hesitate to declare a major is because they do not understand the career options associated with it. Encourage your students to search the undergraduate catalog to see what courses are required in majors that are interesting to them. They should also meet with an academic advisor and visit the Career Connections Center. There are multiple resources to help them.
Students at UF are encouraged to choose a major upon admission, but there is also an option to choose Exploratory as a major, which allows students to take a variety of classes and declare during sophomore year. They can only do this in humanities and letters, social and behavioral sciences or science and engineering. This allows students to literally explore their interests. Students interested in this option can visit the Academic Advising Center. Make the most of any interests and skills while taking all those required general education courses and use that time to uncover avenues that may lead to a new study and career choices.
Should they decide to change their major during their time at UF, they will need to speak to an academic advisor in the new department of that major to see if it is possible. In the business school, certain majors, such as finance and accounting, require a B in a specific class to be able to continue to major in that field. We have known students who had to change their major based on this exact situation. They may be able to change majors within the same college provided they have not completed more than half of their major’s courses. If a student is changing majors to a different college (ex. College of Journalism and Communications), they must consult an academic advisor at that college. Bottom line, as a student progresses further into their time at UF, it becomes more difficult to change majors (and graduate on time).
You can support your student by encouraging them to get involved on campus or in the community. Student organizations, part-time jobs, or volunteer roles are all good ways for students to investigate career options and network with professionals. There are a great many clubs and organizations at UF that students can get involved in. (See our blog on that here.)
Job shadowing is another great way to explore. UF has an annual job shadowing program during the spring semester in which students are matched with a local professional that aligns with their career interests if they are selected to participate… Family friends are also a great resource and can often allow a more open conversation about specific careers due to an existing relationship.
There are so many classes out there that may change their lives, but they won’t know until they take them. Spending a little time surveying, investigating and exploring can lead to some eye-opening adventures and life-changing discovery. My older daughter works in a field that she could have just as easily graduated from UF with an advertising degree rather than a Business Marketing degree. Some degrees may be interchangeable with the job they apply for; her having internships and holding positions with many different organizations and events at UF was what ultimately helped her land a job (and the fact that the hiring person was a Gator too did not hurt).
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