Major Declarations

OrhanYilmaz.MajorDeclaration“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius once spoke these wise words during the Chinese Dynasties. And, yes, it may be 2013 now, but Confucius still applies to life― especially if you’re about to declare your major.

Here at Penn State, with over 160 baccalaureate majors to choose from, that decision can be even more overwhelming. Luckily, there are more than enough resources and opportunities to help students find the love of their career lives.

However, for the second-semester sophomores eligible to permanently declare their preferred majors, the time of self-discovery has come to an end. Reminder emails from eLion are inescapable—major declaration has arrived!

Every Penn Stater’s journey is different. The major you choose now can determine your future location, career, interests and more. So when finally settling on a major, there’s a lot to think about as you press the “confirm” button.

Of course, some students have known what they have wanted to do their entire lives and attended Penn State to make those dreams a reality.

Hailey Kantrow, political science major, says, “It’s scary to think I’m growing up this fast, but I definitely am relieved to have declared my major! It sort of feels like the start of real life.” Kantrow immediately became involved with clubs and organizations that apply to her major including Mock Trial and says she, “became heavily involved in order to become more familiar with my ideal line of work.”

Some interests for majors even spark through introductory classes. Biobehavioral health major Ilyssa Kaplan says, “I didn’t even know about the major when I came here actually. When I found I had to take a class in it, I researched it and fell in love with it!” Kaplan adds, “I’m hoping to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology or perhaps medical school, so that’s where I hope my major takes me.”

For others, however, it’s not where you start, it’s where you end. Sean McCrea came to Penn State as a biochemistry major hoping to find the cure to cancer. But, after taking the freshman level courses and a major course, he had a change of heart to switch to chemical engineering.

McCrea says, “I realized how much I liked chemistry in high school and thought using it in the real world setting would be more interesting, so I switched to chemical engineering.” He adds, “It was kind of a shot in the dark but I’m taking my first chem e-courses this semester and even though they are really challenging, I don’t have problems paying attention and I find the material very interesting,”

As you narrow down and ultimately select your major, it’s important to try new things, take risks and change your mind. After all, this is the time in your life to do that.

Also, remember to check before confirming your major on eLion that you have completed the required prerequisites if the major has controls. The last day to make modifications to your preference list and confirm your major is February 8th.

Good luck!


Photographed by Orhan Yilmaz

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