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Changing your mind and major can cost you more money

Each year we survey our current scholarship recipients before they begin their final year of college. We ask them how much student loan debt they have incurred to date, and we ask them if they are projected to graduate with a degree on time.
 
For those that will not graduate on time, we ask them what the main factor has been that caused the delay in graduation. A delay in a college graduation costs you more money to obtain the degree and delays you earning a paycheck from that first job post college. 
 
Our survey results indicate that on average, 67 percent of our scholarship recipients are on target to obtain their bachelor’s degree within four years from their start date. The other 33 percent of students claimed the number-one reason their graduation was delayed was due to them changing their major.
 
I would have fallen into this category also. When I was an undergraduate at the Ohio State University, I had the rude awakening that my grade point average was not high enough to get into the program that I had my heart set on.
 
After meeting with my advisor, I developed plan B and changed my major. This change required additional classes that were necessary for me to get my degree. Ultimately it meant I had to attend and pay for one additional quarter to have enough credits to graduate. 
 
I’d like to offer you some advice on three ways that will help you decide what you would like to study in college and eventually make a career of. The first suggestion is to take some quiet time and think about your strengths, your talents and your personality.
 
What interests you? What motivates you? Do you like to work on a team or do you prefer to work alone? Do you like working with people or animals? Would you prefer to work outdoors or in a laboratory?
 
Write down things you like to do. Write down things you don’t like to do. Reviewing these lists should help you narrow down the list of what interests you. Another idea is to perform an online career search. There are several career resources online. One in particular that is helpful is www.studentaid.ed.gov. Click on the Career Search link on that page and answer the questions. It is basically asking you some of the similar questions that I referred to earlier.
 
The search will tally your answers and generate a list of possible careers that match your interests. A final idea is to consider doing a summer internship. There are several types of internships. Some are paid, and some are unpaid. Some offer college credit also. You must determine which is best for you.
 
The main point is for you to get practical experience to help you make an informed decision. An internship also will help you make professional contacts, which may help you out later on. Doing an internship is a reality check. It shows you what the career is really about. It exposes the nuts and bolts of the job.
 
After a month or two you should have a feel as to whether the job is right for you or not. So take the time now to really think about what you want to do and use this time to research those careers that match you.
 
Avoiding the issue of changing majors in college can be done with some thought now and leave you with more change in your pocket later. 
 
To learn more about Higher Education Matters, visit the Holmes County Education Foundation at www.hcef.net and follow on Facebook and LinkedIn.
 

Published: November 14, 2017
New Article ID: 2017171109895