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What happens if you want to switch majors very late into college?

I plan on going undeclared in college but am worried about switching my majors too late or too often. #career #college


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MaryLee’s Answer

It depends on if you are staying in the same field with a different major or switching to a totally different field. For example: If you are a business major and want to switch to economics, they are in the same field and share many of the same required classes. In this case you may end up having to just add a few additional classes to your schedule.

However if you are a business major and want to switch to become an architect, then you will end up having to take many additional classes, which will extend your graduation date out by a 1 or more semesters. Generally you will be able to use the classes from your previous major as electives in your new major.

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N’s Answer

It is okay to switch majors, it is hard to know what you want to major in straight out of high school. Most people don't know.
When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. As a matter of fact, my parents chose a major for me (Industrial Engineering), based on my grades and what I seemed to be good at and I just went for it, because I had nothing else in mind. After one year in college, being in the types of classes an engineer would need to take, and having an "Intro to Industrial Engineering" class, helped me understand that it wasn't for me. So thankfully, as you come in undecided that first year, you can use that year to figure out what classes you like best, and what other you do not. You can then go ahead and sit with the university advisor and discuss options . You can transfer your first year's credits to become your electives for example, if you decide to change majors, that way the first year does not go to waste, and you can then focus on the new major you decide to pursue. I also suggest using that first year to meet as many people and discuss their majors, what types of classes those are, what that would involve, and then you never know, you may find your perfect match just based on one conversation with one person :)

On top of all this, even if you graduate with one major, it doesn't necessarily mean that it will be your career. You can be a biomedical engineer and still end up in forensics data analytics. We have such examples at our firm.

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Ashley’s Answer

Hi Thomas!

This is a great question to ask! While in college, some of my friends and my own brother actually changed majors later on in their college years (as juniors). There is absolutely no problem with doing this because for all majors, you will have general/core classes required by the college you need to complete. These take up the majority of your first and second years and sometimes into your third and fourth years depending on how your classes are set up. It will be really important if you are planning to change your major, that you meet with your academic advisor. They will be able to help guide you through the process and make sure you have completed all required courses to graduate. Your academic advisor may change as you change majors, so be advised about that. If you change to a major completely unrelated to what you had originally declared, you may need to take summer classes or even try to squeeze in an extra class when you have a light semester so you can still graduate on time. If you aren't concerned about extending your graduation time, then you can continue to take classes at a pace that is appropriate for you. Also be aware, the more times you change your major that means more classes and more money so over time that could add up! Overall, I wouldn't be too concerned with changing your major while in college. I am assuming you are still in high school, so it is hard to know exactly what you want to do for the next 30 years at this time. Also, as you grow during college you may end up realizing what you initially thought you wanted to do, you actually hate! I would say, it would be better to change your major to something you like or love better, stay an extra semester or take some summer classes rather than staying with a major that you hate, which would lead you to taking jobs that you don't enjoy. Also keep in mind that many jobs have some type of tuition benefit and the option to return to college will always be there for you!

For reference, I also went in without a declared major and actually had no idea about what I wanted to do! Half way through my first year, and only taking prerequisite courses, I HAD to choose a major because I needed to plan out my courses for the following year. The academic advisor I met with just told me to read through the document of majors and pick one (not great advice, I know). My interests were mainly in science and I knew I did not want to go the pre-med route. Upon reading through the list of majors I came across dietetics (study of nutrition) and knew that was my call. So just know that not everyone comes in declaring a major and knowing exactly what their path is and stick to that.


Best of luck!

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Brittany’s Answer

Do not be afraid to try things if you think you will enjoy it. However, do not be afraid to leave a path either. People can to easily be afraid to change paths. I recommend going to your advisor and asking them about the different options. I once took a career aptitude test, that helped narrow my decision. Worst case scenario, you take an extra semester or two to complete your degree. Worth it to do something you love.

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Sarah’s Answer

It's not uncommon, if you want to change it the sooner the better. You may need to stay longer depending on the credits that count towards new major but in the scope of things, staying 1 year later to do what you really want to do is 100% worth it.

Do some research on what credits you've already taken that count towards the desired major and map what courses you would need to take next. Your guidance counselor can help!

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Simeon’s Answer

The biggest risk is that you'll postpone graduation by switching majors. Either make sure that you're ready to switch, switch into a more general degree, or try to find a way to complete a degree with the hours you have in the same time frame that you'll find satisfactory. You gain nothing by postponing graduation and accruing more debt with the additional semesters worth of tuition.

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