Read This Before You Switch Your Major!

I was directly admitted into the College of Arts and Sciences as an English major. Why did I put English on my application to IU? In high school, I liked writing. It was something I knew I enjoyed, and I knew I could always change my major down the road if I wanted to. 

By the end of my senior year in high school, I also wanted to major in Marketing due to some exposure to business practices. So, I started out with the intent to be both a Marketing and English major when I got here to IU. Since these majors are in separate schools, it is called a dual major, not a double major. A dual major requires you to complete the pre-requisites for both schools. I did this. (So, yes, I did take K-201, A-100, Finite, etc along with a bunch of nerdy English classes). But after I completed this, I realized that I was only interested in a specific area of marketing, advertising and PR. I also realized completing a dual major would require me to be here for a long time, even with me being over a year ahead in school. I am not a marketing major now. 

So how am I going to get an adverting job if I don't have a marketing degree? After talking to some business people, I learned that the undergraduate degree you obtain does not always reflect the job you end up with. In fact, one of the ladies I talked to had a social services degree and was working as an event planner for a small corporation. This led me to believe that maybe a Marketing degree from Kelley was not required in order to obtain an advertising job. I also discovered that I could add a Public and Professional Writing concentration to my English degree. So, my Marketing major switched to a Marketing minor, and my English major added a Public and Professional Writing concentration. 

From there, I discovered that the Telecommunications department had several classes about advertising and promotions. I then added a Telecommunications minor. 

Fall semester of my last year at IU (so, last semester), I learned that there is a Public Relations tract in the School of Journalism. Who knew?! I had avoided the School of Journalism after taking a Journalism class in high school. I did not like the style of writing, and I thought my talents could be used better elsewhere. By the time you're in your last two semesters, however, switching majors is not high on your list of priorities. 

So, it ended up that I am an English - Public and Professional Writing major with Marketing, Telecommunications, and Spanish minors. Most of you are probably asking, "What are you going to do with that, serve fries at Burger King?" (Seriously, people really did ask me that...). But the truth is, you can do a lot with a writing degree. Technical writers make around $64,000/year. You could also be a journalist that works for a newspaper or magazine. You could write speeches for political candidates. You could write reports for the CIA covering a wide range of topics (True story, one of the doctors in the Health Center has a brother that does it). However, what I want to do is corporate advertising. That is why I am going to graduate school for Public Relations and Advertising.

The best thing about this is that my major works for me. I have gotten Marketing and Corporate Communications Internships with both small, private businesses and large, international corporations. Some of these internships are highly competitive. I did this with a WRITING degree. In fact, I doubt I would have gotten some of these internships without a writing degree. My degree makes me stand out among the hundreds of purely marketing majors that apply. I come from a slightly different educational background, but I have learned core knowledge about advertising though my minors, extracurricular involvement, and personal initiative. 

The moral of my major story is that you don't always have to switch majors to get what you want. (Granted, if you are thinking about switching from a Folklore major to Human Anatomy, you might actually have to switch.) Do I love all of the "American Literature 1865 - 1914" and "Early Plays of Shakespeare" classes? No. But was it worth switching my major and delaying my graduation time? No. Most of the classes I have taken at IU are about advertising and media due to my minors. You can get the education you need through other ways than majoring in it. In fact, doing this just might give you a competitive edge in the real world.  

About The Author
Jessica FramptonAspiring Advertising Copywriter
  • Public and Professional Writing Major
  • Marketing, Telecommunications, and Spanish Minor
  • Class of 2013
  • International Baccalaureate Programme Graduate
  • Football Fan
  • Taco Bell Frequenter
  • IU Ad Association Copywriter
  • Avid Hiker