For this graduate, changing majors simply added up 

May 12, 2021

Image of La Salle University student Elise Schukin

Accounting major Elise Schukin began to thrive after finding her academic lane at La Salle.

Something clicked for Elise Schukin, ’21, after she switched majors prior to her sophomore year at La Salle University.

“Business Calculus was a really hard class, but almost right away it made sense to me,” said Schukin. “I was able to teach myself problems and re-trace my steps if I didn’t understand how my professors got their answers. It wasn’t always like that for me. I was always asking others for help. Now, people were asking me for help.”

Schukin also experienced a newfound passion for her studies.

“I saw a huge difference in my motivation for school,” said Schukin.

Schukin, who will graduate with an undergraduate degree in accounting and a minor in finance, developed an interest in business while taking an accounting class as a senior at Council Rock High School North in Newtown, Pa. Her lifelong desire to help people through a career in the health care field drew her to La Salle in 2017. But over the course of her first year, Schukin began to have a change of heart regarding her academic path.

“I realized helping people isn’t limited to a specific profession,” said Schukin. “You can help people through business. You can help people by volunteering. And the more I thought about it, the more I saw myself in a business setting. I didn’t see myself in scrubs anymore. I saw myself giving presentations and analyzing data.”

“I’m so happy I hung in at La Salle and became an accounting major. I feel like I found my niche. My hard work paid off,” Elise Schukin, ’21

Switching college majors is not uncommon. Data from the U.S. Department of Education suggests that nearly one-third of new college students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs have changed their majors within three years of enrollment. About 26 percent of beginning students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in health care fields switched majors over that time span.

It still takes fortitude to shift academic gears. Schukin’s courage came from witnessing the success of her older sister, Abygail, ’18, in La Salle’s School of Business.

“Seeing my sister go through the business school, with all the great opportunities she had, and all the relationships she made with her professors, that factored into my decision to transfer,” said Schukin of her sister, who now works at Vanguard. “I saw my sister thrive.”

Schukin has also thrived. She was admitted into the Business Leadership Fellows Program, worked as a supplemental instructor for associate professor C. Andrew Lafond’s Financial Accounting class, and leveraged her internship with Philadelphia accounting firm Baker Tilly into a full-time position she begins in July. Schukin also found time to volunteer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wissahickon and Germantown.

Schukin credits her academic transformation to the support and guidance she received from School of Business faculty like accounting department chair and associate professor, Kristin Wentzel, Ph.D., Business Leadership Fellows director Elizabeth Schroeder, and Lafond.

“When I switched over to the business school, my course load was a mess,” said Schukin. “Liz Schroeder helped me get all my stuff in a row right away. Over time, Professor Lafond and Dr. Wentzel ensured that each semester I was taking the correct course load to set myself up for success. I would not be in the position I am academically without their help.”

Ultimately, Schukin had to put in the hard work necessary to find her lane and reverse her academic fortunes.

“I’m so happy I hung in at La Salle and became an accounting major,” said Schukin. “I feel like I found my niche. My hard work paid off.”

—Patrick Berkery