CAMPUS: Changing majors costs money, time

CAMPUS: Changing majors costs money, time

By Neto Gonzalez
Bridge contributing writer

Published Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023
Edited to include Feb. 17, 2023, photograph

Some TAMIU students second-guess their time spent working on their degrees. These mid-degree changes can cause delays and cost students extra money.

When Texas A&M International University alumnus Ernesto Izaguirre first attended classes in the Fall of 2019, he declared as a psychology major with a projected graduation in the Spring of 2022. After completing more than half of his academic career, he began having second thoughts about his chosen degree. 

“During one of my lectures, my professor told me that I wouldn’t be able to get a job with just a bachelor’s degree,” Izaguirre said. Ultimately, he continued with his degree plan and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology during the summer of 2022.

University College Dean Barbara Hong meets with her staff
David Gomez Jr. | Bridge
Dean of University College Barbara Hong, center, holds a meeting Feb. 17 with the Academic Center for Excellence. The changing major aspect is a component for the ACE priority program, which looks into students who struggle with their current classes and notices their strengths and weaknesses, assesses them along with their interests and gives them options selecting majors.

“I felt like I was way too deep into the program already,” Izagurre recalled. “I didn’t think it was worth switching after taking so many classes.”

Aside from that, he said the cost associated with those additional courses added up quickly. He estimated that half of his classes were non-transferable and he would need to pay out-of-pocket for the remaining courses.

“The financial burden was taking a massive toll on me and my parents, and loans were out of the question,” he said.

Additionally, another of Izaguirre’s concerns was whether he would graduate on time. Switching majors meant his estimated graduation time would be pushed back an entire year, a sacrifice Izaguirre wasn’t willing to make at the time.

While reflecting, he said if he had the chance, he would’ve liked to study “something reliable like accounting or something having to do with business.”

Lastly, Izaguirre added, “I think TAMIU could do a better job informing [its] freshmen. I think if I would’ve known, I wouldn’t have ended up with a major that needs a master’s just to get a well-paying job.”

But Izaguirre isn’t the only student out there facing this issue. Recent TAMIU alumnus David Gonzalez attended the University for five years. Before he decided to study petroleum engineering, he was studying communication.

“All my life, I was sure I wanted to study visual communication,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted to work for a big company and design great things.”

However, after a year of studying the curriculum, Gonzalez felt he was making a mistake. He thought what he was learning wouldn’t apply to his professional career.

“It was a tough decision to make, but it was one I had to make,” he said. “I had a friend who studied at the Staggs Academy and she had to pick a major when she was just 16. I’m 22 right now and just figured out what I want to do. I can’t imagine having to make such a monumental decision at such a young age.”

According to NCES.ed.gov, as of 2018, 30% of students changed their major during their first three years of their university attendance. Moreover, for every 10 college students, one changed their major more than once.


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