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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

When applying to colleges, there can be a certain stigma when clicking the ‘undeclared’ box. It often feels necessary to have an exact career plan when going to college, but as someone who thought they did, going undeclared is not as bad as it seems.

I am majoring in journalism and criminal justice which was not what I saw myself doing when entering high school. Luckily, I found my passion for journalism early in high school. But if I had not made a spur of the moment decision with friends to join the yearbook staff at the end of freshman year, I probably would have ended up clicking the undeclared box.

Even with my love for journalism, I thought that I would go to college and then law school. Now, after only my first year of college, I have realized that law might not be for me. I love to write, but I never really did until my sophomore year of high school as a member of the yearbook staff. I never saw myself aspiring to spend the rest of my life writing until I began reporting for my school. It was then, and through working for college publications, that I found my true love for the journalism world.

However, without my high school yearbook, it would have taken a lot longer for me to realize how much I really love writing and reporting. This has also been the experience for many of my close friends who entered college undeclared. That one class they took on a whim opened them up to a whole career world that they never knew existed. On the other hand, some friends who entered with a decided major found out that the subject is actually draining and not what they want to spend their whole life doing in a career.

So, if you find yourself unsure about your future, going undeclared can actually help you explore many different subjects. It can also help you narrow down what you are not interested in and help you get on the path for the career that you are meant to follow.

Most of my friends are in the process of declaring a major after they tried out different subjects their freshman year. In conversations, they all discussed how interesting some of their classes are that they only took to fill a gap in their schedule. 

One of the most important parts of college is exploration with a new campus, new people and new courses allowing you to find your true passions. If you think that you should apply with a certain major just so that you don’t have to select undeclared, think again. It isn’t a bad thing to be uncertain about your future. Imagine being forced to set out your entire future when you are 17 and just trying to finish high school. Not knowing can actually help eventually guide you in the right direction.

‘Undeclared.’ It can sound like a dirty word. A big, glaring sign that reads “I have no idea what I want to do with my life!” In my opinion? It’s actually the opposite. It says that you are open to exploring many different subjects before deciding how you want to spend your life. It offers more freedoms outside of a confined major to find what you are truly passionate about. If you aren’t sure about the future, check that box. It’s better to explore everything than feel trapped inside of a subject you picked on a whim.

Rachel Mahoney

Northeastern '26

Aspiring journalist that loves to write. Especially interested in forms of investigative journalism, current events, women's rights, LGBT+ rights, and open to writing other stories. I love to write stories and share them.