5 answers

What is the process of choosing a major?

Asked Los Altos, California

I'm not referring to the thought process or experimentation. I'm asking what you have to do in order to declare a major. Is there an administrator who you typically speak to and declare? Can you declare mid-year? If you go in undecided, how long before you have to declare or switch? Is it the same process for major/minors? Thanks! #college-major #major #college #undecided

5 answers

Katie’s Answer

Updated Baltimore, Maryland

I declared my major as part of the application process. I am glad I did because my GPA probably would not have allowed me to transfer in later.

Katie recommends the following next steps:

  • If you are interested in more than one major, check to see what the criteria is for transferring into these majors.
Hi Katie, Thank you for taking your time to write this response! It is helpful :).

Carson’s Answer

As mentioned, you'll want to discuss your options and interests with a guidance counselor. If it's a bigger university you are applying to, I recommend engaging with counselors within the given school (e.g. Business, Bachelor of Arts, Sciences) as early as you can and as often as you can (to make sure you are on track to graduate in time and balance your workload). They will give you the best advice on creating a plan to meet the prerequisites and class requirements to get your degree in the given school. If you are planning to apply to a smaller school, it's likely you will get paired with a counselor prior to day 1.

To finish on time, you need to have the major decided by Sophomore year (first two years you are likely taking a lot of prerequisites that are needed for general graduation - language, english 101, etc.) My recommendation is to follow what you're most passionate about - for me it was History and Business. Don't be discouraged if the major you chose doesn't directly relate to the job you take after school - being able to read comprehensively, write effectively, and communicate transparently will set you up well for the "real world". However, if you know what you want to pursue after school already, then choose a major that fits within that field (you can find this info on most job descriptions).

Best of luck!

Carson recommends the following next steps:

  • Identify a major you are passionate about
  • Connect with your guidance counselor early and often

Noorisingh’s Answer

Updated Sausalito, California

Hi Viansa,

I'm a recent college graduate, so hopefully I can offer some insight. The major declaration process is school-specific, but you generally declare before your junior year. You can, of course, change your major at any time, but it may take longer to graduate depending on your remaining requirements.

When I first started college, I was undecided about my major. I went to a liberal arts college, so I made sure to take a diverse range of classes and explore my options. I eventually decided on Cognitive Science during the spring semester of my sophomore year (yes, you can declare mid-year). After I decided, I declared using my school's online student information system. Some majors also require an application process, which you can find out about through an academic advisor or the head of the department.

I hope this answer was helpful -- good luck with the college process!

Thank you! I found this really helpful; thanks for explaining your personal experience and answering all the parts of my question.

Jazhel’s Answer

Updated Tampa, Florida

Hi Viansa,

Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions you'll make. I switched majors a few times and I'm glad I did because I found the best fit for me. Although I managed to do that on my own, I would have benefited from guidance from an advisor. Your academic advisor is the best person to help you with that as they will guide you to explore courses that align with your interests and help you understand the extent of the major you choose. The program you pursue will have specific requirements and it will help you tremendously to get an idea of what you will be learning so you're more prepared. I hope this helps. Good luck.

Jazhel recommends the following next steps:

  • Visit the Student Affairs office and take advantage of their resources such as Career Center so you know more about the scope of the profession/s for your major.

Mr. Ernst’s Answer

Updated Newark, New Jersey


You would talk to your guidance counselor about that. You can declare it pretty much anytime before your junior year. You are not going to go in undecided you will have to pick one when its time to register for elective and core courses. It can be the same process for minors but every college or university is subjected to change.

I wish you the best on your journey.

Thank you for taking your time to write this! I'm not ready for college yet but your answer will help me be more prepared when I am.