Thursday, July 25, 2024

Head to head: Students should not have to wait to declare major


By Nadia Paschal

College lasts four years, and although that sounds like a long time, it flies by rather quickly. Students have only so much time to finish all of their required courses and many are eager to start early and graduate on time, so being able to declare a major as soon as one would like is highly beneficial.

Being made to wait before declaring a major could help some students, but for those who are certain in what they want to do, this could hinder them. Most take general education courses their first few semesters, but some students like to get as much of a head start as possible. 

By not being able to take courses integral to their major in the first year, it may take some longer to graduate. This is important as some classes are not offered every semester. It would take the student longer to complete prerequisite courses that are needed to enroll in more advanced classes.

Waiting could also be a buffer and deter students from continuing their education. Some may lose interest in school entirely, if they come to college and have to take courses that emulate what they learned in high school. College is supposed to be a time where specialized learning takes place.

By choosing within the first year, students can get to know their professors within the department, and start building connections and get experience under their belts. This sets them up with opportunities to be a part of studies and receive internships that those who waited did not have.

Students often change their major as they discover what they like and don’t like, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Even if a student ends up not liking their original major, by realizing that during the first year, they will still have time to correct this choice. 

If they switch majors early, they can still have time to graduate as early as possible. This process of trial and error is crucial to the experience of a student’s journey and their satisfaction upon graduation.

Personally, I have switched my major many times. I was originally a biology major, but have since completely shifted away from that as I realized early on that field was not for me. If I had not had the opportunity to declare a major early on, it would have taken longer to discover what I am truly passionate about. My time at SUNY Plattsburgh would be extended even further.

Nobody is locked into any major they choose. Exploration of fields and courses should be encouraged. Not everyone knows what they want to do during their first or even second year of college, and that is perfectly fine. However, it would not be fair to make all students wait, as there are some who are exceptions and their education journey should be taken into consideration as well.


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