Change of Major Essay/Letter

As many of you know, I was admitted to UCLA as an “Undeclared Humanities” major with the intent of changing that major as quickly as I could to Computer Science.

I sent in the Change of Major application last week with the following essay. Fingers crossed. As my CS major friend, Brandy, says, “If you want to go for something, they should just let you. People aren’t going to switch into (the) Engineering (School) for fun.”

Here’s the Change of Major essay that exceeded the “no more than one page” restriction. Oh well.

February 13, 2013

RE: Change of Major

Student ID # ————-

I am currently seeking to change my major from “Undeclared-Humanities” to Computer Science. At 46 years old, I’m thrilled to be a freshman here at UCLA. For over 25 years, I had worked very successfully in the Entertainment Business as a writer, producer, and actress. The majority of that work, most recently, was in the Digital Space. As I became further and further immersed in this space and more and more consumed with the technological advances that can be applied to the delivery of Entertainment, I became acutely aware of the stubbornness with which Traditional Entertainment (TV/Film) holds tightly to NOT advancing, nor innovating, nor participating in the Technological Age. My ideas involving tech currently available (Brand-incentivized P2P distribution, touch screen-enabled scripted content, multi-surface story expansion throughout a home or neighborhood, etc) were met with “amazement” but a belief that my ideas were “four years ahead”. I knew my more advanced ideas (video alpha-layer augmented reality, the change in motion picture length/format with the inclusion of multi-participant apps displayed on screen in the theater, holographic delivery of in-home entertainment, etc) would be met with an even stronger response.

Despite my long and strong reputation in both Traditional and Digital Entertainment, I understood that no matter how many meetings I had with all the “right people” or Digital Entertainment Conferences panels on which I was asked to speak, I had hit a dead end as far as advancing Entertainment’s embrace of the present opportunities and that the only way for me to continue to innovate and move forward was to delve COMPLETELY into Tech.

This led me, at 45, to stop all of it, take the SAT with a bunch of High School seniors, and apply to UCLA. Though I knew that the only major I wanted was Computer Science, I applied as “Undeclared” into the College of Letters and Sciences as I did not have time to study for the Math Subject tests that I understood to be necessary for freshman admissions into the Engineering School. Last year, while I waited to see if I had gained admission, I took CS31, CS32, CS33, an upperclassman American Literature class, and a graduate American Literature class to which the professor had invited me, all at UCLA. As I was not an Engineering School student (nor a full-time student), I could not get credit for those CS classes, but, though they were difficult, they cemented my love of technology and coding and I look forward to taking them now for grades.

Speaking of grades, I know you will see an average performance of my math/computer science grades, though I have straight-A’s in all my other classes (including Math1). I have found that though I can completely understand a higher-level math or computer science concept, my test-taking skills do not reflect my ability with the material. Unfortunately, I have felt nervous in my exams and have made “stupid mistakes” because of it. I have been working very diligently to change that, including setting strict time durations for myself during practice exercises for an exam (so my system is accustomed to operating that that speed without any problems during a test) and of course, continuing to attend all lectures, office hours, and discussions (and studying every waking hour).

I do feel that someday I will be an instrumental part of an enormous change in Entertainment as it relates to Technology and so, for the next four years, the only thing I want to do is learn is everything I can about coding, machine-level language, artificial intelligence, algorithms, and anything else in the “Matrix” of our digital life in 2013 and beyond. (Incidentally, I am also looking forward to my first tech internship this summer at Symantec under the guidance of Carey Nachenberg.) 

I earnestly hope I am permitted to change my major to Computer Science and gain admission to the Engineering School.


Justine Bateman-Fluent

  1. getacollegelife posted this