Choosing a Major, Academic Standing

“Do I have to have a major?”

In order to receive financial aid, students have to be considered degree-seeking which means that they need to declare a major. This is usually done during the process of applying to the college. However, students have the option of changing their majors as they learn more about the different options available to them and which one seems like the best fit. Advisors can help students explore different academic and career options.

How do I choose a major?

There are many ways to explore various major courses of study: talk to people who are already in a major you might be interested in; browse through textbooks in the bookstore and see if they interest you; go to to look at different careers that you find interesting and find out how to prepare academically for those careers; talk with you professors about different areas of study. The important thing is to stay open to possibilities and know what your interests, values, and temperament are. These will help guide you find a satisfying course of study.

What if I’m undecided?

It’s OK to be undecided. In fact, it’s important to make your choice of major in a well thought out way. Taking the time to explore different areas of study might lead to something unexpected and exciting.

What if I change my mind?

Most college students actually do change majors at least once in their academic careers. It’s not unusual or difficult to do. It becomes a bit more difficult once you’ve accumulated lots of college credits, but it’s still possible. It’s always good to talk things over before making a change. Talk with your advisor, with faculty members and other students. Make your choice based on concrete facts about the major as well as an honest look at your skills and interests.

Academic Standing

When students do not maintain adequate academic standing, they may be designated as being on Academic Warning, Probation I, or Probation II.

What does “Good Standing” mean?

This means a student is maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better.

What is academic warning and what do I need to do about it?

An academic warning is issued when a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 2.0. The purpose of the warning is to encourage students to get the necessary help needed to recover a 2.0 GPA for the following semester. This help may take a number of forms:

  • Meeting with an advisor to do some academic planning and make sure the coursework is appropriate both in terms of types of courses taken;
  • Talking with the student’s instructor(s) to get extra help in classes;
  • Enrolling in a College/Life Success course
  • Get tutoring help;
  • Reduce credit load for the following semester.

Again, the purpose is to help students’ be successful and achieve their academic goals.

What is academic probation and what do I need to do about it?

Probation 1

When students are on academic warning (cumulative GPA is below 2.0) and they fall below a 2.0 in the subsequent semester, they will be placed on Academic Probation 1. When on Probation 1, students may not register for more than 13 credit hours. They are also at risk of losing financial aid benefits and may have to file a financial aid appeal. Students will remain on Probation 1 status until their cumulative a GPA is above 2.0. It is important that students on Academic Probation get the necessary academic help with classes and also planning their schedules carefully before registering.

Probation 2

Students are designated as being on Probation II when both the cumulative and semester GPAs fall below 2.0. Financial aid will be suspended at this point and students may have to file an appeal.

Academic Suspension

When a student does not achieve a semester GPA of 2.0 and the cumulative GPA remains below 2.0 while on Probation 2, the student will be suspended. Students are not allowed to take classes at NMSU while under Academic Suspension. However, students may sit out a minimum of one semester and then petition the Vice President of Academic Affairs. At the discretion of the VPAA, the student may re-enter the university under contract.