Humans make choices daily, as small as choosing what flavor donut they want and as big as marriage. So how often do college students change their major? And how does that choice affect them?
If you are thinking of changing your major, you aren’t alone. In fact, around 80% of students change their major once. That’s a whopping 80 in 100 people who choose a different life path.
However, it does not stop there. The average college student will go on to change their major three times, if not more, over their academic career. This goes to show that a decision this big is much like a marriage.
You usually date people to find out what you like and don’t like in a person. College isn’t much different. Sometimes you might think that a major is right for you, and the magic falls apart when you start studying it.
Below we will discuss further the effects of changing your major, how to declare a major change, and entering college as an undeclared major.
Effects of changing your major
When college students change their major, they should be prepared to undergo the consequences and benefits that come with it. For instance, changing your major might result in having to stay an extra year. Is it something you are willing to do?
Furthermore, you might have to take more classes, which adds to your tuition. Can you cover all the costs? Will you need an additional student loan? These thoughts are all something you must reflect on prior to making your decision.
Staying on an additional year or two can burn a hole through your pocket. You might be wondering, “Can College Tuition Be Negotiated?” Learn all about it in my article.
In addition, the future you have been working towards will now shift to your new career choice. For instance, switching to the health field might require you to go to medical school and have years of residence. Is that a challenge you are willing to face?
It is no secret that a significant decision can cause stress, worry, and even anxiety, but talking to those around you can help.
Studying something you are passionate about should never feel like a burden, so you might have to prioritize your likes above the benefits of the career you choose.
Recall that you are not alone. 1/3 of college students change their majors into something different than they had previously chosen. Life is all about that!
The first years of college
If you are starting your college career, you are working towards your Associate’s degree, meaning you will be taking general classes, such as math, science, and English, while introducing classes related to your major.
For instance, if you want to major in business, you could take an Intro to Marketing class or Advertisement. The first two years of college are where you can find yourself and choose your path.
Keep in mind that depending on how many credits you have towards your degree, you might not be allowed to change it, and you will be locked into that specific degree until you graduate. This might or might not apply to your college, but check to find out before it’s too late!
Declaring a major change
A lot of college students change their major; now, you are one of them. Once you have made your decision, you will most likely have to speak with your advisor.
The majority of colleges do not allow their students to change their majors without being in contact with an advisor. As soon as you decide on your major, make an appointment to see your college advisor and discuss the following steps.
Keep in mind that advisors have hundreds of students to deal with, so make the appointment as quickly as possible, as it might be weeks in advance.
Benefits of changing your major
Looking at the bright side, changing your major can have positive effects. You might find something you like better than what you originally started learning.
Moreover, you can continue to study your original major as a minor instead, allowing you to combine two things you like. You can also count it as experience in your resume.
College students change their majors quite often because they are supposed to figure out what they truly like. And what better way to do so than experiencing it firsthand?
Always remember that it is better to switch your major than find yourself unhappy in your career. Once you find the major that works for you, you won’t feel the need to change what you like.
If you need time to figure things out, you can always take a gap year to work a job and earn experience. Or to simply travel the world in hopes that inspiration will hit along the way.
Entering college as an undeclared major.
Most college applications ask applicants to choose their desired major to place them on the right track. Nevertheless, as previously mentioned, the first two years of college are more general areas of study and not related to your major.
Therefore, you can enter college as an “Undeclared Major” to give you time to find your way around. This gives you a total of four semesters to choose what you genuinely like to do.
In the meantime, you can speak to professors or students in the fields you might be curious about. Speaking to advisors can help you understand what kinds of classes you will be taking and what possible careers it might lead to.
Being an undecided major can have its disadvantages. For instance, instead of spreading your difficult classes around, you might have to take them all at once.
Summer terms and additional courses online might also have to be part of your plan if you do not want to fall behind. It isn’t an easy task, but it will give you more time to plan and figure out what you want.
Yes, plenty of college students change their majors. Some even enter college with Undeclared Majors. Only time and experience will tell what you genuinely wish to work towards.
You are not alone. Look around campus; the majority of the students around you have also felt, or feel, like you. Don’t stress about it too much, as making a lifelong decision is not meant to be easy. Choose wisely.