Allow flexible major changes

Rocío Del Toro , Columnist

Like many students, as my time at UT has progressed, so have my interests. I am currently trying to change my major to computer science, as I know this is a field I want to enter. However, by the time I meet the prerequisites and eligibility for an internal transfer and major change, I will have progressed too far in my current degree plan and will most likely be denied.   

If students have already completed 60 credit hours in-residence, they are not eligible for an internal transfer. Although students can petition the dean’s office of their chosen school, this is a stressful process that students should not have to endure.    

Because college is the best time to explore different fields of study, UT should better support students’ interests by allowing flexible major changes. This begins with getting rid of the 60 credit hour in-residence restriction for internal transfers. 

Kathleen Harrison, the assistant director of communications in the Office of Executive Vice President and Provost, explained why the current hours restriction for internal transfers exists. 

“These initiatives and policies are designed to increase student success in a timely manner,” Harrison said in an email. “Although these policies have been put in place, a petition process does exist, allowing for individual student cases to be reviewed by the dean’s office of each college and school. If a student wishes to change majors, they must demonstrate that this decision will be in their best interest and future success after already committing time and resources to 60 credit hours.” 

If students feel passionate about a different field of study and are ready to commit to the switch from their current degree plan, UT should support them. Students understand that they may have to stay longer than four years and experience an increase in costs. UT should not stand in the way of students making decisions that will better their goals and future plans.   

“I want to transfer into the School of Nursing, I have all the pre-reqs, and I was hesitant on if I should transfer (internally), because I have 54 hours completed within UT,  and I still have hours that transferred over from a community college,” kinesiology junior Rachel Hernandez said. “I don’t want to pursue kinesiology or that degree anymore, but I don’t want to apply and then get denied, because I technically have the classification as a senior right now.”

Even though students over the in-residence hours limit can petition to the dean’s office of their school of choice, they shouldn’t have to undergo the additional stress of petitioning on top of meeting the prerequisites and the minimum GPA for transferring, as well as maintaining the work of their current degree plan. There should not be so many technicalities for students just trying to pursue their interests. 

“(The admissions committee) should just view you holistically, (and if) you’re going to be set back a semester or two, and … you’re okay with that, why should that affect your application?” Hernandez said.

UT should not make students jump through hoops just for wanting to change their field of study. Students exploring new fields should not be penalized; if anything, their commitment to applying for the new major shows how capable they are of working to accomplish it. Other Texas schools, such as Texas A&M, already provide students with an easier way of changing their major, and it’s time for UT to follow suit. 

If UT is truly committed to student satisfaction and students pursuing their passions, they need to show it by allowing more flexible major changes regardless of credit hours. 

Del Toro is a philosophy sophomore from Round Rock, Texas.