The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Major decision: Most undergrads change major multiple times

Starting a degree program is new and exciting, but some students shortly find out that what they have chosen to study no longer interests them. After beginning the nursing program, NMU student Lindsay Harter soon realized studying nursing for the next four years at Northern was not her best option.

re-major graphic

She changed her major to speech language and hearing sciences, then once more to her final and current major of environmental studies and sustainability. Changing majors multiple times during the course of a student’s college career is not so uncommon.

In fact, 8 in 10 college students end up changing their major at least once before graduation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Most students change their major on average at least three times.

Story continues below advertisement

“I came in as a nursing major because I thought it would be a stable job and I would make money right out of college,” Harter said.

Harter picked her first major based on the career outlook for nursing and the financial security she believed it would provide. The major change to speech language and hearing sciences was based off little internet research, she said.

“I just scrolled through the list of majors and the classes for it and was like ‘Oh, that sounds interesting.’” Harter said. “Don’t do that.” If you enter into college with a declared major odds are you will end up changing it. Having a major going into college isn’t a requirement as most universities offer undeclared programs for students.

Jose Garcia, coordinator of the Academic and Career Advisement Center (ACAC) at NMU, said it is OK to go to college undecided.

“Keep an open mind and don’t feel you have to have a major your freshmen year,” Garcia said.

Being undecided can give students the opportunity to take time during their first year to see what majors interest them, Garcia said.

“If you’re a bachelor’s degree student, you have to do about 40 credits of liberal studies anyway, so those first two or three semesters are a great time to explore,” Garcia said. NMU students can visit the ACAC website to examine and experience possible career and degree options and research a career’s median salary and projected job outlook.

“If a job market says it’s declining in a field, that might mean it’s declining here in the U.P. but it could be really growing out West,” Garcia said. ACAC will work with any students to help them plan ahead with a major even if they are unsure about it, Garcia said.

“One of the things we don’t want to tell a student is ‘Well don’t pursue your passion,’” Garcia said.

Parents, peers, financial aidand many other factors affect a students’ major choice, other than their passions. It seems a lot of students are afraid of making the wrong choice, so it’s almost easier to just not make a choice at all, said Melissa Sprouse, the assistant director of Career Services at NMU. Career services offers students a plethora of resources to aid them in career exploration.

Their services help students with the process of interviewing, resume construction, and finding out what careers apply to specific degrees offered at Northern, Sprouse said. “People get really hung up on their majors,” Sprouse said.

Sprouse suggests students figure out something they like, do research on it and use the resources available to them. “I think the biggest thing is to just pick something and try it, and if you don’t like it, it’s OK to change. You have experiences, you figure out what works for you and you find what makes you happy,” Sprouse said. “If you have an interest, it is always worth pursuing.”

More to Discover