When to Change Your Major (and When Not To)

Declaring a major is one of the milestones in your college career that further dictates your education and career. Around 50-70% of students change their major at least once during their undergraduate experience. Going into college, some of us have a thorough plan about what we will do in the future, while some of us hope to discover that plan during the process. But all of us face some sort of growth and change which may involve ditching the plans we previously had.  If you’re facing this predicament, here are some signs that you should change your major and signs you shouldn’t.

Signs you should change majors:

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You hate what you’re learning.

This should be the most obvious one. If you hate the classes that are related to your major, get out while you can. You’re paying for college, and if you find no value in the education you're receiving, all that money goes down the drain. University is the time to tailor your schedule toward the things you care about. Plus, being bored just makes everything a whole lot harder than it has to be.

 

You’ve been thinking about transferring schools.

If you want to transfer to another school because of geographical, social, or financial reasons, this may not apply to you. But if you want to transfer because of academics, whether you find things too easy, too challenging or just not the right fit, you may want consider looking at the problems with your major before going off the deep end. 

 

You’re hitting a dead end.

There may be a time when you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your options when it comes to learning. You realize that there aren’t any fascinating job prospects or internships related to your major, or the least none that you would be interested in doing. If it looks like you’re not going up from where you already are, then it may be time to to switch to a different field of study. 

 

You didn’t pick your major.

If your parents picked your major for you, take a long hard look before you stick with it. You might end up loving it, but chances are that it won’t be a good fit. The good thing is that if you didn’t choose your your major, you’ll likely be pretty quick to find out that it isn’t for you.

 

You’re jealous.

If you’re jealous of your friends and find more interest in the classes they’re taking, it’s probably because you’re taking the wrong classes. Instead of living vicariously through them, speak with your advisor and figure out your next steps.

 

Signs you shouldn’t change majors

You want better grades, or something easy.

Switching to an “easier” major may sound like a good idea in the short term. You’ll likely have to study less, worry less, and have more fun. But easy doesn’t mean that that things are interesting. The trade off occurs when you graduate. Graduating from a certain major leaves you with only so many jobs that you are qualified for (assuming you want to put your degree to use). In that case, you may not have the skills to be a competitive applicant for the job that you actually wan. 

 

You think it will fix everything.

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There is a time that changing your major may just make everything fit into place, but if you have much bigger problems, you’ll have to put more work in to get things together. Changing your major will not fix your social life, finances, or, everything academically. If you are enjoying your classes but have problems with faculty or the opportunities at your school, then your school is not the right fit.

 

You are about to graduate.

Eventually it will be too late to change your major while also graduating in a reasonable amount of time. In your late junior or senior year, the added time and money that it will take to complete your major is not worth it. While your major does matter, it’s not everything, and it may be possible to obtain relevant experience in your desired field without majoring in it.

 

You haven’t taken any classes related to the new major.

Just like you can take a car out for a test run, you can also try taking some introductory classes in your new major before declaring it. That way, there isn’t too much hassle if you want to change back later on.