Choosing a major earlier proves better in long run

With academic advising approaching, students begin to select classes for the fall semester. Choosing a major becomes a large part of the process as it decides the amount of units needed to graduate and ultimately determines how quickly one can graduate.

“Knowing your major sooner may give you an opportunity at graduating earlier or picking up a minor, or in some cases a double major, by planning out your semesters and summers early on,” said Michael Chrzanowski, an academic success coach in the Office of Academic Advising and Retention.

Isaac Da-wei Yeh switched from a business major to a global studies major with a minor in business this past year. His undergraduate career was supposed to be completed in 2016, but will now end in 2017.

“Because of my change to global studies, I am now graduating a year late. Financially and practically, it would have been nice to know I would be a global studies major, but if I hadn’t taken those business classes, I wouldn’t have the appreciation for what I do now. In the educational and self-growth sort of sense, I don’t regret it,” Yeh said.

Second-year freshman psychology transfer Aubre Ferrell looks forward to the rest of her college years, sure of her choice in major. She knew she wanted to study psychology long before she came to APU.

“At my church, a lady was telling me about nursing and how she went into the nursing program, but before that she took psychology courses. I thought I should do that because I want to be a pediatric nurse,” Ferrell said. “I don’t want to take courses that are not useful; I want to use my time wisely here, so I decided to choose my major early.”

Along with graduating in a timely fashion, Chrzanowski outlines three reasons why choosing a major as soon as possible is beneficial:

  1. Students can find out if they are really interested in pursuing a career in a given major faster than they would by waiting to declare and then realizing they are not interested in that career path.
  2. Students will also have earlier access to information about different opportunities within their major’s department (i.e. internships, research projects, new classes, future changes or opportunities and scholarships.)
  3. Additionally, a student will be around others with similar interests and passions earlier on, which helps to sooner give opportunities for collaboration and potential future partnerships with like-minded individuals.

“If I had to give advice to my past self, it would be to probably just find out what you like first,” Yeh said, “try to find the balance between practicality and also doing what you enjoy.”

There may be an increased chance of doing well academically since you will start off by taking a balance of classes you are interested in, along with general-education courses, as opposed to only taking GEs that don’t necessarily interest you as much.