College students switching their majors

Whether in high school or college, the future is always looming ahead. Some students know exactly what’s in store and some haven’t figured out all the details.


A jCamp analysis of data from Virginia Tech Institutional Research shows the average percentage of freshman who switched majors in 2010 after their first year varies from college to college. The analysis focused on three colleges at Virginia Tech.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
34% left college or transferred majors

College of Engineering
13.1% left college or transferred majors

College of Business
20% left college or transferred majors

When trying to decide what job a student wants, they think about what they are good at and what they love to do. In high school some students have their lives figured out, some have a good idea of what they want to do and others have no clue.

“I want to have a law major and I want to minor in journalism or communications to have something to back me up,” said Allie Zaleski, Kettle Run High (‘15).

Choosing a college major may seem like a monumental decision when it comes to deciding for the future, but a statistical analysis done by jCampers proves otherwise. Depending on the major there is an up to 34 percent transfer rate from the first year of college to the second year alone.

“When you come in as a freshman sometimes you know what you want to do, but sometimes you have to tweak it,” said Liana Bayne, Virginia Tech (‘13) and jCamp counselor. “I ended up changing my major about three times, which is not uncommon. I’d say about half my friends have changed their majors at least once.”

Decision-making is a part of a life. In order for students to find what they are passionate about, they have to keep trying new things until they find what they are looking for.

“When I was younger I switched careers in the blink of an eye. One day I wanted to be an artist and the next day a spy. Now I would like to major in health sciences because I want to become a surgeon,” said Maddie Rice, Loudoun Valley High (‘15).

Even when sticking to one major, there is still have room to fine tune things.

“I’m an English major. I’ve been an English major since I applied here,” said Danielle Buynak, Tech (‘14) and jCamp counselor. “My concentration was literature and then I added creative writing because I want to be a publisher and then a writer.”

However, some students know exactly what careers or majors they want to pursue.

“I want to go into something journalism or media related. I have always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve only become interested in newspaper in high school and I definitely want to pursue that in college,” said Emily Hughes, Stone Bridge High (‘13).

College majors aren’t set in stone. They can be tweaked and twisted or completely erased if need be. It’s important for students to figure out what they love in order to find a career that will make them happy. That’s why there’s high school and college; for students to figure out who they are and who they want to be in life.


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