It’s the best time of your life, right? I mean, you’ve already learned so much. How to sleep in until five minutes before your first class (and still be able to grab breakfast on the way there), how to navigate those communal bathrooms, and how to locate the one other person in your dorm who loves Broad City as much as you do.
There’s only one problem.
You hate it.
Not because you accidentally signed up for an 8am class (though you will never do that again) or because you weren’t expecting Southern California to be so darn hot.
No, your unhappiness is the result of a decision you made long before you even got to this college. A choice you made in high school that you didn’t even know mattered (or existed)—applying to the wrong school within your college.
Yep, that small decision can make or break your college experience. I spoke with Ariana Quinones about her choice to switch to Santa Clara’s business school and how it made all the difference in her time there and her life afterwards.
Picking a School in Your College:
When she was still in high school, college seemed like college to Ariana. She had no idea there was even a distinction between an Arts and Sciences school and a Business and Engineering school within the same college. The classes that you’re going to get in a school of Arts and Sciences are going to be those found at most liberal arts schools—courses in English, Social Sciences, History, etc. The Business and Engineering schools have a much more straight forward courses—Accounting, Economics, Marketing, Finance, etc.
So, when she was applying to colleges, she looked at other factors to make her choice, like location and price. When fall of the next year rolled around, she was heading to Santa Clara in the Arts and Sciences college.
That’s where the trouble started. The courses provided by this liberal arts education were just not sitting right with her. She was taking classes on things like Greek Mythology and discovered that none of it interested her. She couldn’t relate to the material and was turned off by the fact that everything was graded based on interpretation; there was no one right answer.
“I didn’t like the ambiguity of it. Like, is this a ‘good’ essay? It’s very subjective depending on the reader. I just liked getting a score that I knew, no matter who graded it, would be the same grade.”
That’s when she discovered that Santa Clara had a school of Business and Engineering and she realized that the courses offered within that school might be better suited for her. She decided to transfer into that program.
How to Make the Switch:
Making the switch was kind of a big deal. It’s almost like the two schools are two separate colleges within the school. At Santa Clara, they have just put in a program that allows students to transfer between the two schools. But it was something that Ariana knew she had to do.
So, what she ended up doing was writing an essay to the school that outlined her need to switch programs. In the essay, she explained that if she stayed in the Arts and Sciences school, it would be a waste of her time and theirs. She wasn’t able to grow in that environment and getting a degree in something she wasn’t interested in would leave her with nothing to do after college. The school read over her essay and in the end, they let her make that switch.
Keep in mind that she was the one who took the initiative. Realizing that she was unhappy and unable to thrive in her original choice of schools, Ariana took action and requested the switch.
After You Make the Switch:
Immediately after making the switch, Ariana could see a difference. She started taking classes in finance and it really worked for her.
“It was 100% better. Everything just clicked for me. I liked all of my classes and I was good at it.”
She loved the fact that finance was something applicable to her life and always would be. Money is a part of all of our lives; we’ll always need to know how to budget. Knowing this is what really interested her in this field. All of a sudden she wanted to go to class. And her grades reflected this interest. She really excelled in the field of finance. It was a natural fit for her.
Not only did this make a huge difference in her college experience, but it also changed her career path. She went from having no idea what she wanted to do after college to finding an industry that really appealed to her and that she really fit into.
What You Need to Consider! There is so much to think about when applying to colleges—location, size, price. But don’t forget that there are also different types of programs for undergraduates. Take into consideration the types of things you like to learn about as well as your learning style. Do you enjoy writing essays and making an argument? Or do you enjoy straightforward answers and mathematical classes? Ask about the schools offered at the colleges you’re interested in. If your college has multiple schools, be sure to look into what the policies are for transferring between schools.