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I'm a 3rd year in college and I dont know if I should I keep my major, switch it, or become Undeclared for now?

I am a 3rd year in college recently I have upgraded my major from pre-psychology to psychology. The thing is that I'm not sure if I want to stick with Psychology , because I really don't know what I want to do anymore and am not sure if this is the right major for me anymore. Some majors I'm looking at and are interested in trying out are Business Management and Biology and I feel like that it's too late to get into those majors since I am going into my 3rd year. #major #college-major #college #university #psychology #research #business #biology #undeclared


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John’s Answer

First things first Anthony:

DO NOT PANIC – YOUR COLLEGE MAJOR DOESN’T DEFINE YOU
To put it bluntly: A college major is not a life sentence, and you’re not getting married to it. Ask any number of adults in your life what their college major was, and there’s a good chance the answer will surprise you, because it might have nothing to do with their current career. Sure, plenty of people end up in a fulfilling career that lines up with their major, but life is extraordinarily unpredictable, and an older and wiser person will assure you that it’s not a predictor of your future career success if you’ve picked the wrong major at age 18.

YOUR STILL LEARNING TONS OF VALUABLE SKILLS
Whether you’ve realized you chose the wrong major as a freshman or as a Junior (and yes, it happens), any college education is a valuable one. I promise you. You can’t un-know what you already know, and you can’t unlearn what you’ve learned, so it’s worthwhile to take from your degree what you can, remembering that you’ve still picked up an arsenal of tools, lessons, and skills that will help you in any career path you end up choosing.

All the relationships you've made in college are important, but especially valuable are those of your fellow classmates and professors. So even if you end up as a Financial Analyst when you studied microbiology, you’ll more than likely end up forging connections and relationships with people in those four years that will last a lifetime. And that’s one of the best things about college in general! You will learn so much from the people around you in your classes no matter what direction your life takes afterwards.

YOUR SUMMER VACATION IS OVER
If you think you’ve chosen the wrong major but might be stuck staying in the degree path or else you risk graduating late, one thing you can do is to network in other fields. Attend conferences, seminars, and mixers in the field you’re more interested in, so you can make connections and learn from other like-minded individuals. Join clubs or groups related to your true passion, so that even if your workload doesn’t reflect your true passions, you can still immerse yourself in the field you love. It’s easier than you’d think.

I know it can be tough when you’re carrying a full course load, but one way to find your true passion is by taking electives or internships that sound fun and interesting to you. Electives are a great way to keep learning and honing your talent but when it doesn’t directly impact your degree path, you will find them so much more enjoyable. Internships can give you the skills and connections in the industry you eventually want to be in, and often aren’t major-dependent.

REMEMBER YOUR ALLOWED TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
OK, so we know this one is very obvious, but people tend to forget that you can actually switch majors. If you’re in the wrong major, and it’s still early enough, you may be able to switch majors while still graduating on time or slightly late. This isn’t realistic for a lot of people, we know, but it’s still worth checking in with your academic advisors to see if it’s actually possible to switch to something you’ll truly love. Remember that you’re still super young and I'm here to tell you that basically no one knows what they truly want out of life at 20, and if they do, they’re a miracle human. People grow and change — what you wanted as a wide-eyed freshman likely probably isn’t what you will want at 30. You will be fine. Your degree will not go to waste.

Even if you graduate with a degree that doesn’t fit who you are or what you want out of life, take comfort in knowing that you may still be able to use your degree in totally unexpected ways. Really! If you studied Psychology but want to own and run your business, you’re definitely gonna need those psychology skills. All is not lost, and you have your whole life ahead of you to figure out how your education can help you find your true inner success and happiness.

Hope this was Helpful Anthony

John recommends the following next steps:

Step 1: Choosing your new major – So, you decided you definitely want to change your major. Conduct a self-assessment of your core interests, values, skills, and personality type.
Step 2: Research majors, careers, and trends – Now that you have a list, it will be easier for you to evaluate all of the possibilities. What career paths are you interested in
Step 3: Meeting with your academic advisor – Now is the time to consult your academic advisor. They are your biggest ally in figuring out everything you need to do and all the requirements you need to meet to switch majors.
Step 4: Consider a minor or double major – Getting a double major, or declaring a minor allows you to focus on more than one discipline and expands your skill set, which looks great to employers and grad schools.
Step 5: Create your own major – Many universities offer an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree known as a Bachelor of Integrated Studies (BIS). This degree allows students to design a customized course of study by combining two or more majors into one bachelor's degree. A BIS is great for students who can't find the major they want at their school or who want to study more than one subject.

Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my question and the great advice! I currently am in an externship online and learning skills from it, which is hard to find especially during this time. Anthony S.

Your Welcome Anthony, It was my Pleasure. Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. John Frick

Thank You Angel. “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” – Erma Bombeck John Frick

Thank You Anthony. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick

Thank You Hyesun An. “Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” – James Durst John Frick

Thank You Lily. “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson John Frick

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Alejandra’s Answer

I agree with the answer from John Frick.

I was a business administration major concentrating in management and a lot of the discussions we had in class related to Psychology. If you decide to be a psych major trust me and believe everything you have learned will help you be successful in the business world. And going into your 3rd year and switching your major might delay graduation but that is okay.

As a recent graduate I have learned and observed that everyones journey is different and there really is no timeline and deadlines to life. You have total control and if switching is something you truly want to do defend your position to your advisors. Defend your position to your family and friends.

I hope that you have a happy and enjoyable time in university it goes by so quick and there are times of uncertainty that feel uncomfortable and scary. But you got this.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question! Its nice to know that psychology can go hand in hand with a field of study I'm contemplating into switching to. Anthony S.

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Angel’s Answer

Dear Anthony:

Amen to everything that John Frick provided to you in his response! In fact, everyone has excellent recommendations for you. I only wish I had guidance like theirs back when I was your age.

I actually attended an excellent, highly esteemed private university right out of high school and realized after my first year as a Civil Engineer major that my heart was not in it at all. I got caught up in the idea of obtaining an engineering degree as the "safe" thing to do, but I was not passionate about this subject so my grades suffered as a result. So I returned home to San Diego to study all kinds of courses that were interesting to me at the local community college--such as music and vocal performance programs (choir and chamber singers), psychology, and several business courses. I had most of my undergrad completed so I officially changed my major to business, and even got accepted back to the University that I had left several years earlier! However, I hit a road block because my financial aid would not cover the remaining years of college that I needed to complete my degree (it was structured differently back in those days). I took more courses at other community colleges over the course of about 10 years, and even earned a paralegal certificate through USD's paralegal program, but I never quite got my degree back on track again until nearly 20 years later. I returned to school last summer and will complete my degree in Applied Management by the summer of 2021! By the way, I do NOT recommend completing your degree on the 30 year plan like I am doing!

So, my advice to you is this: Continue to do the research and soul-searching needed to understand how your interests , strengths, and current coursework all come together to carve out the ideal education program for YOU, while you're still in school. Then just keep moving along in your educational journey, even if it means you might add an extra semester or two to your schedule. After all, you have the rest of your life to work in your chosen field so enjoy your college years now. Best wishes to you on your journey!

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Carrie’s Answer

If you are just about to start your third year, you are not going to lose much in changing your major. However, it seems that the real underlying issue is that you are not decided on what your next steps should be. The good news is that a lot of the skills you learn in any degree plan are transferrable to other fields. My recommendation is to volunteer at a few places to get an understanding of the day-to-day related to the areas you are interested in. All non-profits have business roles and projects they need completed. They are a business like any other. You could probably rotate through several departments (HR, Finance, etc...) to see what you may like. If you are thinking of biology as a way to enter the medical field, volunteering at a local hospital could give you good exposure. If nothing else the volunteer work will help you establish new contacts and will enhance your resume.

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Steve’s Answer

Hi Anthony,

First off, changing majors - particularly to an allied field - is quite common among college students. Some years ago a remember reading a survey that found the average undergrad changed majors 2.5 times before graduating.

However, what made you choose Psych in the first place? Do you still have those interests? If so, it might make sense to stick with it but perhaps add a minor in another complimentary field that also interests you.

You mentioned Business Management and Biology as possible other majors. Both of those fields would pair well with a ugrad degree in Psych, possibly followed by a Masters or Certificate program in management or bio, so that's another option.

Check out some ideas below, and good luck!

Steve recommends the following next steps:

Time to visit your school's Career Center and talk to a career counselor for some good advice and other options!
Many Career Centers offer a computerized survey you can take that scores your interest in a variety of careers and majors, which could be very helpful in clarifying your thoughts.
Talk to your Psych Dept's office and see if they can recommend any instructors/mentors with real-world experience for you to informally talk with. Maybe you are just concerned about what a career in a Psych position might be like on a daily basis.

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Alfredo’s Answer

Dear Anthony:

Truly not an uncommon question, in fact we should always ask ourselves how to better pursue our interests and best leverage our experience and acquired skills. The trick is to achieve this in the least disruptive way.

The best way to uncover potential new career options is by experiencing, seeing first hand what possibilities a new area of work could bring to you as aspiring professional. Depending on your college policies, investing in a series of short internships could even buy you extra time that you might need to take on some of the additional coursework that you may require to take on business or biology. It is important though, that you understand what business courses or biology courses are key even if you don't end up completing the full major. Moreover, if you choose the right internship it will provide with extra curricular credentials and experience in your new career path.

I suggest the following next steps:
1. Research and narrow down potential career paths based on what you have learned about your interests this far (use career counsellor, mentors in the potential sector, job and networking sites amounts other sources)
2. Understand what are the critical skills and what is transposable from your current major - even if you go for a minor its important to know what set of courses are the ones you really need
3. Take this to test by doing a series of short internships that may help you validate your interests and required skills set, but also build credentials
4. Plan very carefully a critical path of must have coursework and options to formalise a new major or a minor

Remember, it will always be about what you make out of it. It can be done.

Best wishes
Alfredo

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Roberta’s Answer

Hi Anthony,
John's answer is so truly put. You can't un-know what you already know. I have lived exactly what you are going through. I started Psychology, then moved to Administration, then to Publicity and finally finished my major in Marketing and Advertisement and then did my Master's in Controlling and Finance. I must say, I have never worked in any of these areas, but I use what I have learned in each of these courses to apply in my professional life.
You can be absolutely sure that if you decide to finish psychology, you'll apply you knowledge to as many areas in the corporate world, as if you decide to finish any other course.
If you feel you don't want to finish Psychology, you already have a lot you'll be able to take with you through life and if you start some other major, it will be just the same.
Nowadays the professions are more fluid and require knowledge related to different aspects.
Companies look for people from different backgrounds to compose more diverse and multidisciplinary teams in areas that not exactly require a certain academic degree.
Don't spend too much time worrying about this, because life will put all the pieces on their places in ways you'll never imagine.

Only keep in mind that the important thing is to be good and be happy. The rest will take care for itself.

I hope this can somehow help you.

Enjoy and have fun.

You got this!!

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Kellen’s Answer

Hi Anthony, that's a great question and one that I was faced with several times throughout my college career - I changed my major multiple times. First thing to note is that you are not going to be behind regardless of what you choose to do. People change their careers an average of 3 times throughout their professional lives, an extra year or two in college will not make or break you. I would encourage you to reach out to advisors at your university, they have had this conversation hundreds of times with other students and they will know how to set you on the right path. Also, reach out to other students within the areas you are interested in. It is important to get some insight before you fully change paths to make sure that you are moving into something that you will enjoy. Also, if you are really interested in pursuing a career in the business field, I encourage you to look into finishing up your Psych degree and explore the option of obtaining your MBA. Knowledge of psychology is always valuable, especially in the business field and coupling that with an MBA will open up endless opportunities for you to pursue your interests. It also might not take as long as fully switching undergraduate degrees.

Kellen recommends the following next steps:

Don't panic, you are not behind
Reach out to advisors
Reach out to other students
Look into acquiring an MBA

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Linda’s Answer

Anthony - it is more important for you to determine what your career choice will be and then you can change your major or your courses accordingly - there is always time to change and I would not be concerned that you are third year. Many of your classes will count to any major that you choose going forward - hope this helps!

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Kellen’s Answer

Hi Anthony, that's a great question and one that I was faced with several times throughout my college career - I changed my major multiple times. First thing to note is that you are not going to be behind regardless of what you choose to do. People change their careers an average of 3 times throughout their professional lives, an extra year or two in college will not make or break you. I would encourage you to reach out to advisors at your university, they have had this conversation hundreds of times with other students and they will know how to set you on the right path. Also, reach out to other students within the areas you are interested in. It is important to get some insight before you fully change paths to make sure that you are moving into something that you will enjoy. Also, if you are really interested in pursuing a career in the business field, I encourage you to look into finishing up your Psych degree and explore the option of obtaining your MBA. Knowledge of psychology is always valuable, especially in the business field and coupling that with an MBA will open up endless opportunities for you to pursue your interests. It also might not take as long as fully switching undergraduate degrees.

Kellen recommends the following next steps:

Don't panic, you are not behind
Reach out to advisors
Reach out to other students
Look into acquiring an MBA

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