Many students find changing majors the right move: ‘Each class after the switch reinforced my decision’

By Breanna Hoffner

According to the U.S. Department of Education, one-third of students in bachelor’s degree programs change their majors. This trend is also seen at York College of Pennsylvania, with 33.4% of those seeking a bachelor’s degree (including new first-time and transfer students, full-time and part-time students) earning them in something different than what they originally declared. That’s based over the 10 fall terms from 2003 to 2013. 

With that in mind, York College prior to the pandemic hosted a Major and Minors Fair to inform students of the 70+ offerings available at the school. This fair gave students insight into the many majors available here and helped them to make the informed decision into what major they wanted to pursue. 

To understand what drives students to switch majors, the decision-making process behind the switch, and the process one must go through here at YCP to switch their course of study, The Spartan sat down and spoke with several students who have changed their major.

Patrick Gill switched from General Business to Political Science, and encourages others not to be afraid to make the switch.  (Photo by Breanna Hoffner)

Patrick Gill ‘22 knew that he was “good with numbers” in high school and thought that a General Business degree would work for him. After taking several first-year level business courses his freshman year, Gill did not feel any real connection.

At the same time, he was taking an “Intro to Political Science” class. “It really made me love the major,” he says. The first class ignited Gill’s interest enough that he met with his adviser and the head of the political science department to address questions and concerns. 

Says Gill, “I made the leap still with doubts, but each class after the switch reinforced my decision.” 

He says if you are unsure of your major “you should read into your [general education courses] and see if they give you direction.” Many majors are showcased through them and might spark an interest you were unaware of previously, he says.

 Dillon Cortez is self-taught on guitar and even writes his own songs. He is confident in his switch of majors from nursing to music industry and recording technology. (Photo from the Instagram page of Dillon Cortez)

Dillon Cortez knew that he loved science and wanted to save lives, and “thought that choosing a degree in nursing was a no-brainer.” 

After taking basic principles, medical surgery and clinicals, Crotez knew something was not connecting. During this period, he had gone into a negative mindset and worried about announcing his desire to switch majors. 

“Through all of this, it felt like nothing in my life was going right,” he says.

Cortez decided it was time to discuss potentially changing his major with his family. After being met with his family’s support, he felt more comfortable in making the change. 

With a passion for music, songwriting, and playing instruments, he knew that a music major would be a great fit.

The switch took courage from Cortez but he felt as though York College’s broad range of majors made the transition easier. 

An adviser, Dr. Jefrey Woodall, discussed how he knows when it might be time for one of the students he counsels to switch majors. “I often ask my students what they want to do vs. what major they want.” he says.

Assuming the student is willing, Woodall will push the student to work through the skills necessary for the career they want and then use that as a basis for helping them to pick a major or confirm they are in the right major. 

If you’re uncertain of your major, do not hesitate to meet with your adviser to explore other options. They are more than happy to have that discussion.

Breanna Hoffner is a senior majoring in marketing and minoring in professional writing and creative writing.

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