Questioning Your College Major? Here’s What to Do


College student thinking about changing her major

Choosing a college can be overwhelming in itself. However, an even bigger challenge can be the process of picking a major when applying to every individual school. What’s the difference between marketing and advertising? What major do you pick if you want to get onto a pre-med track? It’s pretty overwhelming for most, especially when each school has their own class requirements and area of emphasis for their specific majors. All this being said, it would be easy for a high school senior to get to school, be a month into classes, and realize they hate every class they are taking. So, how does one proceed? Here are some tips:

1. Seek help for finishing your classes you’re struggling with

College student meeting with her professor

If statistics isn’t as easy as you thought it would be, seek help. Many colleges offer free group tutoring for large lecture classes, which typically include a lot of science and math courses. Signing up for these may be a punch to the throat for your pride, but you’ll come to realize that college only gets harder.  You’ll get used to seeking help in a lot of different ways, such as speaking to your TA’s and setting up meetings with your professors. No one wants you to fail, so there are an abundance of resources to make your life easier.

2. Set up a meeting with your advisor

College student meeting with his academic advisor

When you’re having feelings that maybe your major isn’t for you, the best course of action to begin the process to change that would be to make an appointment with an advisor. At a lot of schools, you receive an advisor that is specifically assigned to you. Some schools may not do that, and in that case you would just make an appointment with the advising office. When you get to the day of the meeting, come prepared with questions to ask them. Some examples of these would be:

  • [Here] are some of my interests... What majors do you think would be good for me?
  • How do I go about changing my major? Do I have to apply and be accepted or just change my classes next semester and declare it later?
  • Will I have different general education requirements?

Asking these questions can set you up to have a conversation that could lead you to what major you want, and the things you need to do to get there. It is also always good for your advisor to know your education plan, so they can come to bat for you when scheduling classes and help you with your applications.

3. Gather as much information as possible

College girl researching potential majors

Attend any and all possible information sessions regarding the school/major within your university you are interested in switching into. Information sessions will inform you of the application process (if there is one) for that specific school, the different majors they offer, and their general education requirements so you can begin to plan your next semester’s schedule with them in mind. This is also a great opportunity to network with the school’s assigned advisors, letting you know one-to-one what you should be doing to have the best chance of getting in.

4. Prepare to take extra time for your degree

College students tossing their diplomas after graduating from university

Some school’s requirements to transfer in may be harder than others. If it’s a very specific program, you may have to take more general education or major classes than originally expected. This can be frustrating and disheartening, but know it is actually super normal! According to Cappex, the 4-year graduation for private universities is 52.8%, and for public universities it is 33.3%. This is partially due to people deciding their major is not for them and needing to change and take more credits than they thought. You could also be a sophomore or junior taking 100-level classes, and this could be just as frustrating, but there is nothing wrong with that either! Most people take 100-level classes at some point in their upperclassman career.

5. Know that you deserve to be in the school you’re transferring into

College student exploring a campus hallway

To be comfortable transferring majors, you have to be confident that this area of study is the one from you. You will start behind those who have been in this area from the beginning and sit through classes that may seem like common sense. To continue, you must know that this is the school for you. Know that you are worthy of the path you have chosen for yourself. This confidence will carry you through classes that will test your skills and endurance. You came to college to learn, and you got into your program for a reason, even if it was later than most.

Conclusion on Changing Your Major

College is a confusing and life-changing experience. You will experience a lot of ups and downs emotionally, but more than anything, it is a time for candid self reflection. You will set yourself up for success as best you can by being honest with yourself. If you are unhappy with what you’re learning, be confident and sure in the fact that you feel that way. That way, you can prepare for the academic change with positivity and a new excitement for your school and educational experience.

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