Major changes … at every age

Sara Scanes

‘Never too late’ to change major

Photo Illustration by Daniel R. Doherty

Credit: DKS Editors

Pre-nursing major Adrienne Lipstraw does not want to be a nurse, so she’s changing her major to fashion merchandising.

“It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle the blood,” she said. “I thought going into freshman year that I would like (nursing), but I didn’t know if, long term, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Thinking about changing your major? Understand what is expected.
“Look at the catalog and the coursework required,” said Becky Gares, coordinator of advising and communication for the Honors College. “If you don’t like a lot of the courses, you may not like that major.”

Do your homework. Gares said students often lack an understanding of what a specific career entails. She encourages students to do research, shadow a professional in that field or speak with a professor who has knowledge of that career.

Talk to your adviser. Yvette Coil, applied conflict management major, encourages students to talk with their academic adviser or an adviser for their major. “The advisers are really helpful,” she said.

This semester she is taking Fashion Fundamentals, the first class in her new major.

“I love getting to learn about not only the different kinds of fabric, but how everything comes together,” Lipstraw said.

Unlike most students in the class, however, Lipstraw is a junior.

On top of that, she said she is still not able to declare fashion merchandising as her new major because her grade point average (GPA) is still too low.

“I should be able to switch at the end of the semester,” she said.

Academic adviser Sandi Buckey said she sees students from every standing change their majors.

“Students can do the change of program form even as senior,” Buckey said.

Yvette Coil, a non-traditional student and senior applied conflict management major, has changed her major three times since she enrolled at Kent State in 2003.

“Someone told me that students can change majors five times on average, so I didn’t feel too bad about it,” Coil said.

Coil said she wasn’t ever nervous about switching her major.

“There’s no sense in continuing what you don’t like,” she said.

Lipstraw agreed.

“You’re paying all this money, you might as well be doing something you enjoy,” she said.

Becky Gares, coordinator of advising and communication for the Honors College, said it’s never too late to change majors.

“The question is,” Gares said, “how long can you afford to extend your undergraduate education?”

Lipstraw is confident she will graduate after only one extra semester, which will still put her ahead of most college students who earn a bachelor’s degree.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “First-time recipients of bachelor’s degrees in 1999-2000 who had not stopped out of college took about 55 months from first enrollment to degree completion.” That’s about four and a half years.

While changing their concentrations didn’t worry Lipstraw or Coil, the economy has both women worried about their careers.

“I guess everybody needs clothes,” Lipstraw said. “But it’s terrifying to think of finding a job.”


– Contact career services at 330-672-2360.

– To access your skills and interests pertaining to a career or major go to

&bull To schedule an appointment with an adviser go to

Coil said she’s extremely worried about finding a job as well.

“I don’t think anybody is guaranteed a job in any major,” she said.

Gares admits the state of the economy has to play a role in choosing a major, but it can’t be the only thing to consider


“If you pick a major based solely on economics, there’s a good chance you won’t be happy.”

Contact general assignment reporter Sara Scanes at [email protected].