The “old + new” combo
BUSINESS (marketing concentration) + CLASSICAL STUDIES
Favorite core course: her foreign language requirement, which she fulfilled by taking Ancient Greek. “I was ready to quit within the first week,but I talked to my professor and he really encouraged me to stick with it. Now he is my Classics advisor and my professor for my fifth semester of Greek!”
Scheduling tip: “Mix up your classes for different majors throughout the semesters. I find it really valuable to have a variety of subjects within a given semester.”
Advice to incoming students: “Experience your major through internships, traveling or mentoring. You need to make sure you still love what you’re learning when it is put into practice if you hope to be able to handle it all.”
When she enrolled at Calvin, Rachel knew she had a head for numbers and an aptitude for organization. What she didn’t know was how she could combine that business sense with her interest in the culture that surrounded Jesus and Paul.
Rachel found her curiosity satisfied as she sampled Calvin’s core classes. She enrolled in Ancient Greek to fulfill her foreign language requirement and wound up loving it, ultimately spending time in Greece and adding a classical studies major to her business marketing degree.
“Greece is a beautiful country. The land, the people, the culture, the history. It all permeates so much of our modern lives.”
Now a Calvin junior, Rachel’s made lots of connections between her two majors. “Classics is the study of how societies operated thousands of years ago, and business is the study of how things operate today. Both are important for us to understand so we can realize how influential we are in our own communities.”
Rachel’s double major prompts her to ask good questions about marketing, ethics and human nature. She’s especially interested in corporate social responsibility and how the messages young women receive through the media affect their views of themselves.
In addition to classes in her majors, Rachel knows her core classes have given her a solid context for her future career. “I have a lot more knowledge to form an opinion about things outside my immediate fields of interest that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. So many of my classes have interconnected, and that is due to the liberal arts foundation at Calvin.”
The “just” engineering major
ENGINEERING (mechanical concentration)
Favorite core course: “Introduction to Film and Media” in communication arts and sciences, which fulfills “The Arts” core requirement. “It’s not related to my major, but we got to watch some good movies.”
How he deals with the heavy engineering workload: good time management and taking summer classes to lighten the normal semester load
Do the math: 26 engineering major credit hours + 32 semester hours of technical cognates in math, business, chemistry, computer science and physics + 31 credit hours of core + 42 credit hours for the mechanical engineering concentration = 131 credits (+ 8 more if you didn’t take two years of foreign language in high school).
Internships: one developing brake calipers at TRW Automotive and one working with end-of-line automotive testing machines at Burke E. Porter Machinery
No one can blame Brian for being “just” an engineering major. In fact, the majority of students in the engineering program choose not to add a minor to an already-intense academic repertoire. Why?
Calvin’s engineering program is well known for its rigor and excellent preparation for the workplace. This reputation is built on a curriculum that consumes most of its students’ academic schedules. While there’s a bit of wiggle room for an elective here or an interim in India there, Brian spends most of his time in engineering and related science courses.
But engineering students aren’t exempt from core classes. The number of core classes Brian has taken is slightly less than the average student, but you’ll still see him in that lit class or tennis interim course. In fact, he appreciates the chance to take some classes outside of his normal program.
“Core classes at Calvin have helped me to become a more well-rounded person. Through classes like English, literature, history and economics … I’ve built a wider base of knowledge.”
His advice to new students planning to tackle an engineering major? “Participate in extracurriculars. They can be a nice relief from a tough workload.”
For Brian, that means taking a break from studying the laws of thermodynamics to captain Calvin’s varsity tennis team.
The classic Calvin interdisciplinary major
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (geography concentration) + PSYCHOLOGY
What can you do with that major? The growing list of potential careers in environmental work includes law, urban planning, land management, international development and more.
Pick a concentration. Environmental studies majors choose a concentration in economics, geography or political science, depending on what career path they're interested in.
Kari was convinced as a high school student that she would pursue a career in medicine. Then a biology class that fulfilled her “Natural World” core requirement changed her life path.
"Biology 123 confirmed that environmental issues were more than just an interest for me. After taking that class, which deals with various health, environmental and biological issues in the form of group discussion and labs, I was confident that an environmental studies major was the right choice."
This major, which has Kari taking classes in biology, economics, geography and political science, is the “perfect blend” of her interests in the sciences and humanities.
And though the environmental studies program consumes more than 50+ credit hours in Kari’s academic program, she’s still found time for a minor and a semester-long study abroad experience. Thanks to the fact that her off-campus program in Europe fulfills requirements in her major, minor and core, she’ll graduate in four years.
The career-focused combo
RECREATION + PSYCHOLOGY
Advice to new students: “Make good connections with important people around you.Your professors, boss or mentors are all great people to look up to.”
Rachel loves helping others feel good in their own skin. And once she found out about Calvin and its versatile academic programs, there was no place else to go to college.
When she was still in high school, Rachel’s dad recognized her gifts and suggested she consider a career in wellness coaching. So the search was on for a Christian college with versatile majors that could help Rachel focus on her interests. And after visiting Calvin, Rachel knew. “I didn’t even apply anywhere else. Calvin was a great fit.”
At Calvin, Rachel knew her program would prepare her to coach a wide range of women on a wide range of wellness issues—physical, mental and spiritual. And whether her clients are working on facing fears or training for triathlons, Rachel knows the liberal arts education she’s receiving will come in handy.
The liberal arts truly rounds out my education. I can incorporate more fields of knowledge than I ever thought I could. From philosophy to biology, these courses expand my knowledge and will help me advance in my career. I will be able to go deeper into the specific needs of each [client] to help them improve.
Rachel is entrepreneurial, but not individualistic. She values the guidance she’s received from professors—especially her advisor. Her advice to other students juggling programs? “Make good connections with important people around you. Your professor, boss or mentors are all great people to look up to and to ask for a great letter of recommendation.”