College is all about changing our minds. It’s about thinking we know exactly what we want to do with the rest of our lives, then waking up the next morning directionless and terrified. It’s about experimenting, exploring and figuring out what we are actually passionate about. But, for many Villanova students, changing our minds is a costly and frequently impossible pursuit because of the obstacles set up within and between academic colleges.
Internal transfers in colleges, like changing from an arts student to a science student, requires a heavy course load in order to make up for the loss of credits from classes in the Art college that aren’t accepted from the Sciences. If an engineering student desires to change to a physics or math major, they are suddenly bombarded with core requirements and have to re-do math credits that don’t transfer from the engineering college. So, even though we don’t have to declare majors until the spring semester of sophomore year, it’s almost always playing a catch-up game if you wish to change majors, or transfer colleges.
As freshmen, we all initially believed that there was ample time to explore different classes and that we didn’t have to stay in the original academic college we were accepted into. However, that bubble was soon popped when we realized that internal transfers into the business school are very competitive and the core requirements leave minimal wiggle room for exploration. Juniors and even sophomores who realize they dislike the academic program they chose to pursue as freshmen face an uphill battle in order to graduate in four years.
Transferring between colleges shouldn’t be as daunting of a process as it is. There should be more overlap between similar fields, like engineering and science, so credits are transferred and transitions are smoother. College should be a time of exploration, diverse experiences and learning opportunities. The current structure of internal transfers and the core requirement make it very hard for students to change academic paths and figure out what makes them feel fulfilled.