Are you considering changing your college major? Here’s what to consider before making the switch.
Up to one-third of college students change their major at least once (and about 10% change it more than once!). Students who change their majors usually do so for one of the following reasons:
- They thought they wanted to study a particular field, but the courses aren’t as interesting as they had hoped.
- The course content in their major is difficult and they feel overwhelmed.
- They took a course in a different topic that turned out to be interesting and are considering switching to that field.
- They were undeclared or picked a major at random and are now trying to choose their “real” major.
As you continue to deepen your understanding of what you want, what interests you, and what gives your life purpose, you may feel that your current major is no longer a good fit. And while switching halfway through freshman year may not be a problem, making the same switch in junior year can throw your curriculum (and your graduation timeline) for a loop!
Here are some factors to look at before changing majors:
1. Is your problem temporary? If you are struggling in a specific class, keep in mind that it will be over in a few short weeks. Of course, if that course represents what you’d be doing as a professional in that field, then you’ve got a larger issue. Which is why it’s a great idea to consider…
2. What will a career in this field be like? Many different career paths stem from any given college major. You might find that certain things you’re required to learn for the major do not represent your daily activities in the career you ultimately pursue. Interview or shadow several different professionals with careers related to your major; your school’s career center may be able to give you some guidance.
3. How much will changing majors set you back? If you’re making a switch within a school or college (i.e., switching from English to history within the humanities), your general education requirements may not change too much. But if you switch from liberal arts to STEM, say, you may have significant additional requirements that may extend your timeline for graduation. Speak with an advisor and get crystal clear on what’s involved before you make the switch.
4. What makes your new major the right fit? To ensure that your new major is a good fit, you should take multiple courses in the field. You want to be certain that you weren’t drawn to one particularly exciting class or one excellent professor. Review the course curriculum for your new major closely, speak with an advisor in that department, and chat with some students to get their thoughts as well.
By taking these considerations into account, you should be able to switch majors smoothly and successfully!