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Is it common to switch majors in college several times? How many times did you change yours?

This question was asked by a young lady in Southern California who is undecided on her major. She is currently applying to college, but she fears not graduating on time as a product of entering college without a predetermined course of study. #college-major #college-admissions #major #majors #college-majors #choosing-a-major #undecided

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Subject: Career question for you

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Andy’s Answer

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That's a great question. I know many people who have changed majors more than once during their undergraduate career. You may need to take some summer classes or a couple of extra semesters to cover the required coursework for the majors but changing majors is not necessarily a bad thing.


Personally, I changed my undergraduate major from bioengineering to integrative biology. So I was fortunate that my coursework overlapped and didn't result in many extraneous classes and I still graduated in 4 years.


College should absolutely be the time for you to discover new interests and fields of study. There's also nothing wrong with knowing your passion and going for that. But if you're not sure, make sure to take the breadth requirements that apply to most majors in your freshman year. And while you're doing that, audit or sit in on classes in majors that interest you. Talk to major advisors in the degree programs in which you are interested. Many colleges and universities also offer seminar classes that introduce students to various fields. It won't be wasted time.


And just because you graduate with one degree doesn't mean that you can only do that one thing. Even though I graduated with a biology degree, I am currently a professional artist. College isn't the end of your time to explore your career path; it's the beginning when you have access to myriad resources and possibilities. Take it as an opportunity to get to know and understand the world around you and not just a means to get a job.


I hope that this helps. Good luck!

Thank you comment icon This helps so much. Thank you, Andy! Student Voices by CV
Thank you comment icon This is great advice. Learning is a life long process. Anita Lawrence, PharmD
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Anita’s Answer

Who said you could only have one major? My intent was to major in chemistry and psychology with a minor in English literature. Yes, the course load was intense however my interest in all three made it easier. I graduated in 4 years with a degree in psychology and minor in chemistry. I could have taken 1 or 2 summer courses to achieve the major in chemistry.


You can achieve anything you are willing to put in the work to obtain.

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Cicily’s Answer

How about select two to three majors in which you love. Go down the list of core classes that are the same: take those classes. You should be able to narrow down from three to two, or maybe even that ONE major, with no wasted time!


Good luck...

Thank you comment icon This is a great idea. Thank you, Cicily! Student Voices by CV
Thank you comment icon You are welcome, this was how I proceeded in my studies, and it worked for me. Cicily Smith
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Simeon’s Answer

I changed my major two times in college. I went from music performance to writing to business management. I knew a lot of fellow students that switched their major during college. I wouldn't worry about it as long as you are careful that you don't switch into a major that will push back your timeline for graduation. Avoid being in school indefinitely as you'll accumulate more debt while also postponing your entry into to workforce to pay that debt off. If you're not sure which careers would actually appeal to you, I'd look up videos online of people in that career describing their favorite and least favorite parts of their jobs. See if you could picture yourself having to put up with the same daily stressors and if that career would be worth it for you.
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Matthew’s Answer

CV, thanks for posting this question as it pertains to your post-secondary interests. Yes, it's quite common for college students to change their majors a few times, on average anywhere between three to four. To answer your second question, I only changed my major once, and it was a relatively minor switch - Communications to English. I also wound up pursuing a double-minor in Journalism and Philosophy. It combined a lot of different interests into one degree, and although I cranked out a high number of papers for those courses, I thoroughly enjoyed it! So, I'd encourage you to consider doing the same thing - find a topic of study you enjoy, talk it over with your academic advisor, and explore what's in front of you. There's no doubt you'll have plenty of options from which to choose, and even though it can be a little nerve-racking with so many possibilities, enjoy the chance to grow!


Best of luck!
Matt

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