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Thinking of Switching Majors at UMass Amherst? Here’s a First-Hand POV of Someone Who Gladly Did It.

“My reasons for coming to UMass Amherst had been pretty straightforward since day one: their computer science program is top 30 in the country, and I received a great scholarship. As an international student, hard facts were musts to consider since traveling thousands of miles to tour schools wasn’t an option for me.”

This is the usual spiel that I give on all my tours as a tour guide at UMass Amherst. There definitely is truth to those words, but sometimes I find it interesting how what seemed so important to me three years ago isn’t exactly what I’m doing anymore — something a lot of college students can relate to. When you’re 17 or 18 years old, the idea you have of life at that moment is very different from what you experience it to be as a college student. Being independent, learning more about yourself, and charting out a career path are things that you can only discover after fleeing the nest. So, as much as my first sentence is true, I find it key — and borderline amusing — to note that I’m not even a computer science major anymore.

I’m currently a senior studying informatics on the data science track with minors in business and computer science. And yes, I know it’s not the most uniquely different thing from CompSci, but it’s different! What I expected from my former major was not what it turned out to be — hard coding 24/7 is not something I was interested in. As much as I wanted to remain in the same industry, I wanted to find something for myself that was more math and business related in the tech industry. So, data science! The informatics major at UMass Amherst is relatively new and falls within the College of Information and Computer Sciences itself, so the major-to-major transition wasn’t huge for me. A talked with my academic advisor and filled out a bunch of forms, which was all I had to do while I waited to hear back from the department.

At UMass Amherst, switching majors is very approachable even in the other nine colleges, and speaking to someone who can help within a specific department will open many doors. I was recently informed that I’d be the first graduating class for the major which was a weirdly proud and gratifying moment after spending two years in confusion, and the past year and a half in a lot more contentment.

As simple as the process sounds — which it was for me personally — one thing I can relate to with switching my major is the low that comes from it. Spending this much money to go to a university and not knowing fully what you want to do while trying to ace classes you don’t love is a terrifying feeling. I would have made the switch a lot earlier if I allowed myself to accept that switching one’s major is not a failure of any sort; if anything, it’s moving in the right direction.

I know people who have switched their majors three or four times and are now living their best lives in careers they’re truly happy in. If you have even half a thought about it, I strongly recommend speaking to peers in the other major(s), booking an appointment with your academic advisor to work out what’s best for you, and not beating yourself up about it! It’s completely okay to change your decision if you find something that makes you happier, especially when it’s going to have an effect as long-lasting as your career. Take your time, be patient with yourself, and I promise you, from one major transfer to another, you are going to be completely okay.

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Vaidehi Bhatia

U Mass Amherst '23

Vaidehi is a writer for the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter. She is a senior majoring in Data Science with minors in Business and Computer Science. Be on the lookout for lots of articles about fashion, beauty, relatable college experiences & wellbeing!