14 answers

can you switch your major in college if so how soon or how late do you have? Does it push your schooling time further.

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14 answers

John’s Answer

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Plenty of college students change their majors at least once Madison. However, it’s still important to balance your emotions and practical considerations when making this important decision. Be sure to put lots of thought and research into your choice before making the change official with an academic advisor.

SIGNS YOU MAY NEED A NEW MAJOR

• MY BAD – Did you choose your original major based on outside influence, like pressure from your parents or the prestige it offers? Make sure you choose your major according to what you want, not what others want for you.

• BORING – All students find at least a few courses in their major a bit boring. But if you can’t find any classes that excite or interest you, then it’s possible you’ve chosen the wrong major.

• GOING NO WHERE – You’re not looking forward to your future career options. Do all of the potential career paths connected to your major sound boring, then it’s possible you’ve chosen the wrong major.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Timing is key when you’re thinking about changing your major. Will switching majors cause you to stay in school longer? As an underclassman, you can probably change your major with no more than an extra semester tacked onto your undergraduate education, if that. If you are within your first 60 credits in college, you’ll likely find it easier to switch to a new major. At schools where you’re required to take a large number of general education credits, you may have even more time to make the switch without extending your timeline by too much.

POINT OF NO RETURN?
For upperclassmen, it’s a bit trickier. If you’re already well into the required courses for your major, it may be worth it to stick it out and get the degree. Once you’re more than halfway to completing a major, you really need to consider whether it’s worth it to “lose” the work you put into those courses by not getting the credits. At this point, you may want to consider adding a second major rather than giving up on your original major altogether.

Hope this Helps Madison
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Than You Tyler. “The purpose of life is not to be happy, but to matter– to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” – Leo Rosten John Frick Translate
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Jaehun’s Answer

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This will depend on how you were accepted to the university. If you were accepted as a major undecided freshman student, you will be applying for the major during your sophomore and start at the beginning of your junior year. In this case, you have time to decide and choose what major you want to be in before applying. However, if you were spending time on taking classes that does not meet the new major requirement, you will have a push on your school year.
Another case is if you were accepted to the major starting as a freshman, you will need to apply to the department again if you want to change your major. For this case, you will need to wait for the major applying term to change, but if you have a major in mind you can take the prerequisites and change without any delay.
In both cases, earlier you change you will have no effect or little on your planned graduation year. It will mostly depend on the prerequisites you need more to take to change your major (also major accepting term will be depending for the second case).
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Carson’s Answer

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This is such a great and important question! The simple answer is yes, of course you can change your major at any point during your college career, it could even be your senior year, second semester. This however, will most likely cause you to stay in school another year, or potentially more depending on the required courses for the new major. If you're switching to another major in a similar field, meaning switching from communication to business, then you might not have too many more classes to take to fulfill the degree requirements since most are dual classes. The questions you need to ask is what is the new major you're considering, why are you considering it, and would your previous classes also count toward fulfilling your new major. I would also suggest making sure that this is something you're passionate about, especially if it will extend your college experience and could be expensive. I hope this helps and best of luck!
It's also worth noting that changing majors once already starting in an undergrad program is extremely common. Many people execute this pivot successfully. Kevin Carlin Translate
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Richard’s Answer

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Typically colleges require you to choose a major by the end of your second year, and choosing it that late won't always push your schooling to another year.

The best thing to do is pick a handful of majors you're interested in, and find classes each one has in common. Those, along with basic university requirements, would be the best to complete early on before taking your major. This will give you a foundation for each one you want to take, allowing you to complete each in the usual four years. However, you should also be taking one or two classes more specific to your majors or interest to get a feel for which one you want to do.

But I should also warn you that if you want to do more intensive majors in the STEM field that have more total hours of classes, it is best to choose earlier. This is because many upper-level classes have a lot of prerequisite classes, and have to be taken in a sequence of semesters. Thus, choosing too late will push your degree back a year. You should always look at the required classes for each major you're interested in to watch out for this scenario.
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Dan’s Answer

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Hi Madison,

It is definitely possible to switch one's college major. The amount of time it can add or subtract depends on how much overlap there is with the previous major as well as the major's graduation requirements. I switched majors several times in college, and it ended up adding about one semester to my college career.
I did head into college with some credits, which prevented me from falling a full year behind. I was originally a Communications/Spanish double major and ended up in Accounting (pretty different set of courses).
In my experience, it was beneficial to take a wide variety of classes because I wasn't sure about any major I had. It afforded me the opportunity to use those credits toward each new major.

Good luck,

Dan
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Riley’s Answer

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There are a few different scenarios that you could be in. If you entered college as Undecided, then your freshman advisor will have set up your first year of classes in a way that most of these credits could be used for any major, so it would not set you behind. However, if you've already started a major I would not suggest changing to a completely new major after any more than two years of instruction. I have a friend that did this and while he loved his new major and didn't regret changing, it did set him back by two semesters. It really just depends on how unhappy you are in your current major, and how similar the new major would be. For example, switching from an Elementary Education major to a Biology major would definitely set you back by at least a year. However, if you are just switching from Marine Science to Biology you might have already taken a lot of the classes that you would need for both majors.

Riley recommends the following next steps:

  • Set up a meeting with your advisor to discuss the switch.
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Khrystyna’s Answer

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If you start as undeclared, I believe most schools want you to declare a major by the end of your sophomore year. I don't think there is limit of how many times etc you can change it, however the sooner you do it the better. Because depending how close the curriculum for both majors is will determine if you will have to spend extra time. The first year or two you will be taking mostly general classes so it's not that big of a deal, than changing majors after junior year. but at the same time, let's say you are studying political science and decide to switch to international relations or something like that, this most likely will have little impact for you, compared to if you change it to architecture or engineering.

Just make sure you stay in touch with your advisor and they will help you out!


Good luck!

Thank you!
Khrystyna
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Kimberly’s Answer

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Hi Madison,

Great question! You can change your major at any time, however I would suggest trying to choose a major by the start of your junior year. Typically speaking, you take general education classes for the first two years so you are not really focusing on classes for your major during these years. If you want to graduate in four years, then I would recommend declaring a major at the end of your sophomore year, that way you can sign up for the relevant classes for your major. The good news is that there never is an actual deadline other than the one you set for yourself!
Good Luck!
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Julian’s Answer

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Hello! You definitely can change your major as many times throughout college as you would like. Depending on what major you chose, some requirements are similar, so the transition should be fairly easy and not delay the timeline. For me, I changed my major like 4 times. I still managed to finish in four years! As long as you don't have a whole ton of new requirements, your time in college shouldn't be extended!
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Richard’s Answer

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Typically colleges require you to choose a major by the end of your second year, and choosing it that late won't always push your schooling to another year.

The best thing to do is pick a handful of majors you're interested in, and find classes each one has in common. Those, along with basic university requirements, would be the best to complete early on before taking your major. This will give you a foundation for each one you want to take, allowing you to complete each in the usual four years. However, you should also be taking one or two classes more specific to your majors or interest to get a feel for which one you want to do.

But I should also warn you that if you want to do more intensive majors in the STEM field that have more total hours of classes, it is best to choose earlier. This is because many upper-level classes have a lot of prerequisite classes, and have to be taken in a sequence of semesters. Thus, choosing too late will push your degree back a year. You should always look at the required classes for each major you're interested in to watch out for this scenario.
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Gloria’s Answer

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You can really change your major at any point during your college career. The challenge is that the more you have worked toward one major, the more time that college may go on when you change majors. I changed my major five times. That meant that I actually go and paid for about two degree programs just to get the first degree. So if you are planning a change, you need to see how much of your first choice could work with the second choice. If you are undecided, maybe just start college with a degree that gives you more options long term. If i had known about a Liberal Arts degree, I would have gone that route. I have learned in my working life that a college degree is a bonus, however, what you got the degree in is sometimes not important. For example, my job as an Instructional Designer does not have a single degree program that would work best. Sure, you can major in Training and Development but that is usually a Masters Degree, not a Bachelor's degree. Peers who do my job have degree in Liberal Arts, English, Computer Science, Graphic Design, and so on. I know many people who have great jobs that have little to do with the majors in which they got their degrees. If I had known those things, I just would have chosen one thing and just stuck with it. As it stood, it took me 17 years to get my first degree. I could have saved a lot of money as well as frustration by sticking to a single course of action.
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Blake’s Answer

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Hey Madison,

In most colleges you can change your major. The question of will it add time to finish your degree depends. Every college has classes that are generic that all, or most, majors must take. These classes usually take a semester or your first year to complete. If you change majors during that time, it shouldn't add to the length of your degree at all. However, if you pursue a degree in Finance and then decide you want to change to Biomedical Sciences, you will most likely have many classes that didn't apply to both majors. Thus, increasing the length of time required to achieve your degree.

Thanks,
Blake
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Yasemin’s Answer

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Hi Madison, yes you can! I've known of students who have switched their majors a couple times, regardless of what major you will have you will still need to complete your gen eds. They are general classes to keep you as a well-rounded applicant and help when you are undecided in your major; you wouldn't lose time regarding those classes but there are a number of credits you must complete in your major and that can push your schooling a little further. I believe by the end of your sophomore year, entering junior year you should have you major selected but before that it may not affect your time. Do some research and if you are unsure about your major you can also begin undecided and explore before settling down on your path.

Best of luck!
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Stacey’s Answer

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This is a great question. You can change your major in college at any time, but it is best to change it before you are too deep in your current major. When it comes to how much time you will add to your college journey it depends on what you are switching to. For example, I changed my major for my bachelor's degree. I went from Marketing Education to Training and Development. It added a semester or two for me but not too long due to it being in a similar field (education). Some of the courses to complete the degree were the same and that helped a lot. If you go from wanting to be a doctor to wanting to be an engineer then it will extend how long you are in college by quite a bit because to completely different fields. Before you change your major it is best to consult with your school counselor.
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