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How does applying to colleges with an undecided major versus a decided major differ in the ways they will affect your future?

As a senior in high school, I am in the midst of preparing for the next stop on the long and winding journey we call life. Every turn I take and every decision I make leads me down a different path and I'll admit it, it intimidates me. Even after a ton of research and experimenting, it is hard to settle on one thing that I will be devoting a lot of time and attention to in the next couple of years (and for most of my life). Whenever I discover a profession that somewhat appeals to me, it's like the universe doesn't want my heart to settle on it. Either the field of study is extremely scarce among the colleges I am interested in, it doesn't fit into the lifestyle I am looking for, or I would have to complete additional graduate studies. I always thought that applying to colleges with a decided major will foster a higher acceptance rate to that college, but I don't want to make the wrong move. Having a definite major would allow me to complete the program's prerequisites quickly, but if I go undecided, I feel like I am wasting my time taking classes that wouldn't really benefit me. What are the benefits of each type of admission? What are the drawbacks?
#undecided #decided #college #college-admissions #college-selection #college-major #life

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Kellee’s Answer

Kudos for giving thought to your future so early Karen!

Applying to college is stressful enough so I concur that you don't have to decide on a major right away, nor compare yourself to others who have. College admissions is well aware that even those who think they know what they want as a major will likely make some changes along the way.

Being "undecided" will have little impact on your admission decision because of this. Academic performance, leadership demonstration, the story you tell in your essays, and how you engage with admissions or any others in the process, will have a FAR greater impact. Once you're in, you can always switch majors when you learn more about your talents and what you like and don't like by taking a variety of classes. I learned that my talent for business was greater than my love of psychology so I switched my major right before my junior year. I didn't miss a beat, and what I learned in psychology is more than applicable to business. I also took a horseback riding class because I love horses!

One more thing: Being able to have a conversation on a variety of subjects makes you a well rounded and more interesting person. For example, being able to speak with your boss about a shared love of classic literature, even though you work as a financial analyst, could go a long way in relationship building. :-)

Kellee recommends the following next steps:

Focus more on the application, especially your essay/personal statement. This is where the school can get a sense of your personality and leadership. Be your awesome, authentic self.
Keep up your grades. You're on the home stretch now. Make sure you present the best academic profile you can.
Think less about major and more about the possible career paths you think you'd like to pursue. Start doing some research to find what kind of skills you need. This may give you an idea of classes to take, and possibly a major to pursue.
I hope this helps. :-)

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Bridgette’s Answer

Hi Karen

I would not worry about going into college undecided. I believe going in undecided you are able to take a variety of classes and see what you show interest in verses taking classes that you think you may like. I also would not worry about not graduating on time due to coming in undecided, there is plenty of time to decide. Hope this helps!

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Herman’s Answer

Hi Karen,

Don't worry too much about applying as undecided, if you actually haven't decided. I know many people who applied undecided then made their decision in college. I also know people who chose 1 major, and changed it to something completely different later too. My friend entered as a computer science major, and graduated as a neurobiology major, and is now in medical school. I personally entered college as undecided, then chose Biochemistry during my 2nd year. Any additional classes you take doesn't necessarily have to be a "waste", they could help you make your decision on your career choice. Some of the classes I took in college that were unrelated to my major were actually some of the classes I enjoyed the most.

Hope this helps!


Thanks Herman! You make a great point! Karen P.

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Bonnie’s Answer

Don’t worry if you enter college as undecided. Some students change their majors multiple times before they land on their true path.