Jan 272004
Authors: Amy Resseguie

Aimee Chlebnik came to CSU as a music therapy major. After her

freshman year, however, she decided to change her major.

“Working so hard on music made it not fun for me anymore,” said

Chlebnik, now a junior recreation and tourism major. “I wanted a

career where I could be outside in the mountains all the time, in

the sunshine.”

Chlebnik began searching through the CSU course catalogue until

she found a program she felt suited her interests.

“I didn’t want to do anything really sciencey, but I’m big on

conservation and wanted to be able to play outside,” she said.

Statistics have shown that many students change majors at least

once during college, said Becky Thomas, an academic adviser at the

Center for Advising and Student Achievement.

“At one time, students who arrived with a declared major changed

(majors) more than open option students, because it’s so hard to

know what you want before you come,” Thomas said. “A student who

comes to college needs to try (a major) on for size and match it up

with their needs.”

Thomas said it’s important for students to find a major that

satisfies them.

“I see a lot of students trying not to do what they want because

they think it’s not practical,” she said. “The minute they have an

idea what they want and it matches their interests, they do much

better. They’re motivated and have a sense of purpose, which helps

to succeed at a job.”

Thomas recommends students who are interested in exploring

majors make an appointment with a CASA adviser. During these

appointments, the students and advisers work together to select

some potential courses of study.

From there, Thomas said students can talk to the key adviser in

a specific department to learn more about the major and various

course requirements.

“We often refer students to the Career Center if they have no

idea (what they want to study), because they can test a student’s

interests and skills as well … it helps to narrow it down,”

Thomas said.

Once a student has settled on a couple of majors to explore,

Thomas suggests taking specific courses within those departments to

really get a feel for the academic program and the potential


Finally, Thomas recommends talking to people working in the

field a student wants to study.

“If you’re interested in advertising, you can look in the Yellow

Pages under advertising and ask a professional if you can do an

informational interview to learn about their career,” she said.

Discussing options with family and friends is also a good way to

gather both professional and personal information, Thomas said.

At first, Chlebnik said her parents were skeptical of her


“I’m kind of an impulsive person,” she said. “Eventually my

parents got used to the idea … they think it’s really cool


Students who are ready to officially change, declare or add a

major or minor may do so by filling out a change of major form,

available at the Registrar’s Office in the Administration


The process for most majors is relatively simple, said Associate

Registrar Nolan Oltjenbruns.

“Pick up the form from us, fill it out, gather all the necessary

signatures and then return it to us,” he said.

However, the process varies from department to department.

“In some cases, students have to do sort of an exit interview,

in some it’s just a matter of filling out the form,” Oltjenbruns


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