The CNAS Transition Advising Program provides specialized academic advising and programming to UCR students who are considering or are in the process of switching majors. In this edition of the CNAS Blog, the CNAS Transition Peer Mentors and the CNAS Transition Advisor share their experience and offer guidance to help CNAS transition students navigate through the process of switching majors.
My name is Kathryn Aquino and I am the Lead CNAS Transition Peer Mentor for the CNAS Transition Advising Program at UCR. In my role, I help guide and provide mentorship to students who are looking to transition from CNAS to another program at UCR.
As an undergraduate student at UCR, I understand the challenges that come with pursuing a major in college. Part of the undergraduate experience is discovering new interests, learning our strengths, as well understanding our weaknesses. Throughout my first year at UCR, I strongly believed that I wanted to pursue a career in the field of research as a neuroscience major. As my first year progressed, I soon realized that I was not making the level of progress I had envisioned for myself. I had to face the possibility that I could no longer continue as a neuroscience major and switched to being an undeclared student. It was extremely discouraging at the time, but thankfully, my academic journey did not end there.
As I navigated through my second year at UCR as an undeclared student, I was introduced to the CNAS Transition Advising Program with the help of my new academic advisor, Elizabeth Jimenez. To make my transition a smoother experience, I was encouraged to join the program to receive the guidance of a Transition Peer Mentor. This was a unique experience that granted me the opportunity to meet with a peer mentor, another student who had also made a similar transition from CNAS. It was inspiring and reassuring to be able to meet with a student who had found success transitioning from CNAS to another college at UCR. I felt comfortable in having an additional resource with whom I could meet and address any questions, such as learning requirements necessary to transition into a certain major. This granted me the opportunity to discover my academic strengths and true interests I had a genuine passion for. Shortly after, I was able to discover my passion for psychology and decided to pursue this major throughout my sophomore year at UCR.
With the support of the Transition Peer Mentor Program, I was successful in my transition from CNAS to CHASS throughout the entirety of my second year at UCR. Since then, I have developed a greater sense in my capability as a student and have been able to find enjoyment in the courses I am taking. My transition period allowed me to not only fulfill my transition to the psychology major, but discover my interest in philosophy, thus contributing to my minor. I could not have imagined completing my transition from CNAS to CHASS without the guidance of the Transition Peer Mentor Program.
I have since taken on the role as a CNAS Transition Peer Mentor for the last two years and it has been the most rewarding experience throughout my time here at UCR. As the Lead CNAS to CHASS Transition Peer Mentor, I am extremely grateful to have explored the transition program and now strive to assist and guide other students undergoing a similar experience. It can be challenging to figure out how to change your major and experience this journey alone. Ultimately, the CNAS Transition Peer Mentor Program is here to help provide students with the support and information necessary to succeed in changing their major from CNAS.
For more information about the CNAS Transition Peer Mentors, please visit:
CNAS Transition website page: https://cnasstudent.ucr.edu/transition-advising
CNAS Transition Peer Mentor Program Discord: https://discord.gg/WEJtSJBM
CNAS Transition Peer Mentor Instagram: @cnastransitionpeers
In the Q&A below, I interviewed our CNAS Transition Advisor and my fellow mentors about the program and their experience with the CNAS Transition Peer Mentors program. If you have any questions about changing majors, please reach out to any of us with the CNAS Transition Peer Mentor program.
CNAS Transition Advisor
Lead CNAS to CHASS Transition Peer Mentor
4th year Psychology major; Philosophy minor
CNAS to CHASS Transition Peer Mentor
4th year Psychology major; Education minor
CNAS to BCOE Transition Peer Mentor
3rd year Computer Science with Business Applications (CSBA) major
CNAS to School of Business Transition Peer Mentor
3rd year Business Information Systems major
GET TO KNOW CNAS TRANSITION ADVISOR ELIZABETH JIMENEZ
As the CNAS Transition Program Liaison, could you provide a brief description of the history of the program?
The Transition Advising Program was created in the Fall of 2012, the then Associate Dean of Student Academic Affairs in the CHASS, along with the Assistant Director of CNAS met to discuss ways to improve the success rates of students pursuing STEM majors, as well as better ways to help those who fail in STEM majors to ultimately graduate in CHASS. The call for a Transition Advising Program came when CNAS saw an increase in CNAS students who began lapsing because over 90 unit holds. After running a report, it identified 72-83% of CNAS students who lapsed due to NU holds did eventually return to UCR to graduate, primarily in a CHASS major. Students were repairing their academic records via UCR Extension in order to return to matriculated status. The high return rate insinuated the notion that transition advising could assist in preventing the lapse of these students, by prompting an earlier assessment of their situation and quicker transition to CHASS, then there would be a high possibility that more of these students could graduate in a timely manner from UCR. Since its start, the Transition Advising Program has evolved to include students looking to transition to not only CHASS but School of Business, BCOE, School of Public Policy, and Education. Students in the Transition Advising Program are offered Transition Peer Mentorship for additional support to help students navigate the change from their current college, CNAS, to their new college.
What is the overall goal of the program?
The overall goal of the CNAS Transition Advising Program is to provide specialized high-touch academic advising and programming to UCR students who are transitioning out of CNAS due to lack of progress towards a CNAS degree, or realizing a potential for better major fit outside of their current college. The Transition Advisor, along with Transition Peer Mentors and academic advisor liaisons from other UCR colleges, will guide, motivate, and provide academic resources to all CNAS transition students in an effort to encourage them to “Choose To Succeed.”
How might one be able to join/get involved in the program?
Students interested in joining the CNAS Transition Program can do so by scheduling a 30 minute appointment with myself, the CNAS Transition Advisor. During the appointment we will discuss career goals and identify what major in either CHASS, School of Business, Public Policy, BCOE, or Education that best fits the students goals. During the meeting we’ll develop an Individualized Transition Plan which will outline appropriate next steps and if interested, pair the student with a Transition Peer Mentor for additional guidance and support.
GET TO KNOW THE CNAS TRANSITION PEER MENTORS:
Describe your transition experience?
As a previous CNAS student, I was under a lot of pressure to find a place and purpose in a major I did not want to be in. Going into class became a chore and I was constantly overwhelmed during my years as a Biology student. It wasn't the work ethic that I lacked, it was the passion for the area of study I wanted to do. Now that I am officially in a major that I am passionate about, I see that my drive and passion for a study manifests into my current work ethic as well. Despite the hardships of actually becoming a psychology major, the knowledge that I gained from the experience alone is something that I continue to share with others.
I started out college as a biology major in hopes of becoming a physician's assistant. As time went on I started to realize that I was losing interest and motivation in my studies, and that the health field wasn't for me. Technology has always been a part of my life and I always found myself wanting to dive deeper. After researching the many majors that UCR offers I was able to discover my passion of wanting to improve people's experience with technology through the Computer Science with Business Applications (CSBA) major, which combines the technical aspects of product design with the business aspects.
Hi everyone! I am Samantha, a third-year Business Administration student concentrating in Information Systems. I made the transition toward BSAD at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Prior to my time at UCR, I made the decision to major in Mathematics with the intent of concentrating on Computer Science and going into tech after being inspired by multiple of my family members. After taking my first set of programming classes, I started to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities UCR offers to help expose myself to the different fields of tech, such as software development, data analysis research, and project management. After being actively involved in school organizations, with the support of my advisor, I started taking Business classes and found my passion for Business Information Systems, the perfect middle-ground major that allows me to combine my background in Computer Science with my newfound passion for Business. Since then, I have been able to confidently transition into the School of Business. As a Transition Peer Mentor, I am looking forward to giving back to the community and helping my peers in their academic careers, along with providing a support system to those that are in a similar situation as I was. Feel free to reach out to me for any support, advice, on-campus resources, and questions!
What advice do you have for students who are looking to transition from CNAS?
The advice that I want to give for students is to focus on what you CAN do with the major and what YOU can contribute to it. It is also totally normal to want to explore different areas of study and find something that you are passionate about. After all, your college years are short, so why study something you don't enjoy?
Some advice I have for students looking to transition into CNAS is to have multiple options and plans. In my experience planning beforehand relieves stress and can offer many students reassurance to get to where they want to be. A more defined path through preparation and planning can guide us towards the right direction and minimize the stress and doubts that may come with transitioning into a new major. It is also important to note that plans may change, and having multiple options allows for flexibility and choices.
Go for it! Join new organizations on campus, meet new people from your prospective major, and join the TPM program! We have lots of resources available on campus to help guide you throughout your transition.
What has been your most rewarding experience as a transition peer mentor?
The most rewarding experience by far has been being able to consult students with the knowledge I have and see students successfully transition into CHASS. My efforts only go so far in this process and being able to see students initiate the change themselves is so nice to see. It is rewarding to see the passion and change throughout the process and see more motivated students overall!
As a student that has also transitioned, I can relate to how intimidating it can be to transition into a new major. Over the course of my mentees' transition processes, they gained more confidence and became more excited as they were nearing their transition. I was able to see the positive impact in their academic performance as they worked towards pursuing their passions. That to me is the most rewarding experience as a transition peer mentor.
The most rewarding part of being a peer mentor by far is being able to provide a sense of community for my mentees and seeing them grow in leaps and bounds. Being a strong support system, inspiring others, and having the opportunity to learn and share with one another is an extremely rewarding experience. It is amazing how small acts of guidance can unlock so much potential in an individual!