By Lindsey Shanck, Toppel Peer Advisor
As an incoming freshman, it seems like students are on one of two sides of a spectrum. They either know exactly what they want their major to be and will not waiver, or they have absolutely no idea what they want to do, and they chose a major because it sounded like a good option. No matter what the case is, studies show that most students end up changing their major at least once in their college career.
When I was a freshman, I thought biology was the only subject I was interested in, and I would never stray from the pre-med track. I believed that if I dropped pre-med, I would stumble into a deep depression and never achieve my dreams. But what I did not realize is that there are so many factors in deciding what major is right for an individual. These include lifestyle choice, if grad school is a possibility, maintaining a strong GPA, and ultimately doing something that makes you happy. Almost everyone I know has changed their majors at least once, some from biology to psychology, like me, or some making a bigger jump from chemistry to journalism.
Although changing majors is very common, and it is possible to change them more than once, it is still important to put some thought behind the decision. Some people I know have switched majors simply because their other major was hard and they wanted an easy out. As a result, they are now very confused about what they want to do after graduation, and are no longer passionate about what they are studying. In order to make an educated decision about whether one should change their major, there are some things that should be done first.
1. Picture yourself in 5 or 10 years. Is what you are doing/ your dream job, related at all to the major you are thinking about switching to? If not, you may not be making a decision for the right reasons. While one should be happy in their major, college is for gaining experience to enter the workforce, and gaining a degree that could help with that. Changing a major simply because it is easier would be a good decision for the rest of your college career, but not for life after college.
2. Take a career assessment. Toppel offers lots of resources to help students find what career might be right for them.  Students can either come into Toppel to take an assessment, or take an assessment online. Sokanu is a new, free assessment that produces top job matches based on a variety of factors. For me, Sokanu produced very accurate results. These assessments may confirm the career you have always been thinking about, or give you new career ideas that may have been off your radar.
3. Talk to an advisor. Make an appointment at Toppel to meet with an advisor. They can talk to you about different career options within your major, offer advice for how to achieve your new goal, and discuss if changing your major is needed. Furthermore, your academic advisor is very knowledgeable about the field you want to go into and how to get there.
4. Learn your strengths and weaknesses. While a career might interest you, it is very important to consider the lifestyle you want, if you are compatible with the job, and if you would be utilizing your best skills. The career assessments can help you determine certain personality traits you have and how those traits could help you or hurt you in a job.
The beginning of the school year can be hectic, and with classes starting, it is often overwhelming to think about making changes to your schedule or major. However, with all the resources Toppel has to offer, these decisions can be a little less daunting.