Going into freshman year I was a biology major, and was more motivated than ever to start my academic career on the path to the medical field. However, like many other students, passions and interests change, and I decided to change my major to operation and information management at the Isenberg School of Management. I made this decision at the end of my sophomore year, and there were some things I needed to do before I made the official switch. Here are some tips to guide your decision if you are thinking about changing your major.
1. Talk to Students and Professors
If you are hesitant or unsure about changing your major, a great first step is to talk to other students and professors that are already in the program. When my interest in the Isenberg School began, I talked to a handful of my friends and people I knew that were already in it. I asked about the classes, career opportunities, and specific majors within the school. Talking to peers that already have experience within the school is very helpful. On top of this, I knew I wanted to go into the operation and information management (OIM) program, so I emailed a professor and asked to speak with her one-on-one. She gave me more detailed information about OIM, and the benefits of the area of study.
2. Attend a Lecture
Another thing I did to learn more about the major before officially switching over was attended a couple of lectures. I wanted to see the material being taught and the type of environment/culture at the school. I asked friends or looked on Spire to see if there were any big lectures I could attend, and there were quite a few. Being in the class allowed me to see the major at a truer level and understand how the Business School operated.
3. Talk to Advisors
Perhaps the most important thing to do is talk to advisors, both in your current major, and the one you are interested in switching into. This is dependent on if the major you are changing to is outside of the college, or if you are changing to a major that is very different. In my case, I was in the College of Natural Sciences and wanted to transfer into the Isenberg School of Management. I talked to both my biology advisor, and an advisor in the Isenberg School to see what courses I needed to take and what I needed to do to get into the school. The biology advisor helped me take courses that would fulfill my major requirements and also met general education requirements. This meant that if I didn’t get into the Isenberg School, I would not lose any progress in the biology major, and if I did get into the school, I would already be a couple steps ahead. The Isenberg advisor gave me insight on expectations on how I could maximize my chances of getting in. Both individuals were important assets I needed when making the switch.
Overall, changing majors is an important decision that takes time to fully flesh out. The two challenges are learning more about it and being totally convinced you want to make the switch, and being sure you won’t fall behind if you do switch. However, UMass Amherst does a fantastic job when it comes to ensuring all their students end up in the place they are most happy with.