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Are you at a disadvantage if you apply undecided to college?

One of my main concerns is picking a major that I really like and enjoy but my interests are constantly changing so it has become a never ending circle of me going nowhere. My biggest concern is that if I don't know, will that leave me behind other people? #college #undecided #majors

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Clemente’s Answer

Hi Lauren,

In my experience, as a college administrator and professor, there are no disadvantages to entering college undecided as long as you plan accordingly (take the courses you are required to take, consider what you'd like to to pursue, do your research on potential careers, etc.). I'd argue that most students are undecided and that the majority of those who "know" what they want to major will graduate with a different degree.

Generally speaking, the first two years of college (if you plan on attending a 4 year school) are designed to expose students to different fields of study. During this time frame students take the same courses regardless of anticipated major. This is what we call general requirements (the vast majority of your college credits will be from this category). At my institution students don't have to declare a major until the beginning of junior year.

Hope this helps!



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Jessie’s Answer

I actually think that entering college as "undecided" will put you at an advantage over other students. You will be more likely to have an open mind as you explore your options, and therefore more likely to ultimately select a major that is right for you.

Most people are not exposed to enough different industries and job roles to have a reference point to know what they want to do. In those first semesters of college, you will get a chance to take a variety of classes, listen to speakers from different disciplines, and meet peers from different places and with different interests. Armed with that information you will have a better idea of what you want to do.

As a frame of reference, I entered college thinking I knew what I wanted to do (electrical engineering). I changed my mind during my freshman year to computer science, and ultimately my first job was actually in technology sales as a systems engineer. My roommate as a freshman entered undecided, attended many seminars from people in varying industries and then found her absolute calling, which turned out to be accounting. She is the only person among my friends who has actually stayed in a career based on her major, and she absolutely. loves. her work!

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Debra’s Answer

Hi Lauren,

I have four children who have attended college or are attending college. Two entered college with specific majors in mind. Life happens and they both actually left school but eventually returned to different colleges and completed their undergraduate degrees with different majors than what they started with. Now they are both studying for their MBAs.

My third child went to the local community college and graduated with an associates degree and medical coding certification which worked out very well for her and she is now exploring further certification.

Currently my youngest is a freshman in a four year college. She struggled on whether or not to go in as undecided because she has so many interests. She decided to major in Public Health but she also has an interest in political science and is hoping to work in some of those classes too.

So from my kids' experience, I'd say it is definitely not a disadvantage entering college as undecided because freshman and sophomore years are a great time to explore areas you might be interested in. If you can take advantage of a local community college that's great too! I think there are more students entering college not really knowing where their interests lie so don't sweat it! Keep all of your options open and find what works for you.

When you get to college, take advantage of peer counselors, department counselors, clubs, etc. Don't be afraid to ask questions as they are all good sources of information!

Best of Luck!