Even though choosing a college major is a big decision, many schools require you to declare your major right away or after your first year. This is going to impact your future course requirements and set you up for life after college. However, not all college majors are going to work well for you.
And if you find that after a couple of years you’ve headed down the wrong path, what do you do?
Changing your college major
I started out as a music major because I played the guitar and I really loved music. Unfortunately, I found that they expected a lot more formal music background in order to succeed in the basic courses such as ear training and sight singing. It was a disaster.
This was only my first year so, after summer break, I decided on nutrition as a major. I was interested in herbology and holistic health and dreamed of owning my own health food store.
What I learned
My story doesn’t end there but this article isn’t about how I drove my parents crazy changing majors. This article is about how to change your major with minimal wear and tear on your academic success.
Here’s what I learned:
- Before changing majors, check with your school to find out what new courses you’ll have to take
- Find out how much this will delay your graduation
- Learn how much more will you have to pay in tuition/books
- Be sure to ask how this will affect your ability to qualify for financial aid
Changing your college major may require you to take extra pre-requisites to get you caught up on the requirements for graduation. If you’re lucky, some of your classes will transfer over. Your advisor can help you answer these questions so, please don’t just guess and hope it all works out.
Before you go to the trouble of changing your college major, ask yourself why you want to change. If you find the coursework too hard, would working with a tutor be a better choice? If you’re bored silly, is there another major that is close to this one that would interest you and not require an entire change of direction? If you’re like me, searching for the right career, consider these strategies for checking out a major:
- Try job shadowing during summer break to experience the reality of the profession
- Intern or take a part-time job at a company where you can see professionals in action
- Check out the websites for the professional organizations of this career
- Talk to students who are in that major about course work and challenges
Taking time off from school to work in your new chosen field or working in it part-time may stretch out your time to graduation but it may also help defray the added costs.
It’s a lot less painful to change your college major in your first two years of college. But if you find that perfect major any later, you can still make the change if you’re willing to live with the consequences.
Be sure to make your academic advisor your new best friend. Your advisor can help you decide on a new major and help you stay on track in meeting graduation requirements.