At this point in the college game, you may be contemplating changing your major. Through hours of boring lectures and dozens of painful chapters to read, you’ve realized this college major really isn’t where you want to be. You thought you’d love it, but after spending time learning about it, or working in the field during an internship, you would rather be spending your day on a farm in 117 degree weather shoveling pig feces and hang drying your clothes. Luckily, if you decide the major you chose at age 18 isn’t the same one you’d like to be in at age 20, you don’t have to keep it. But, like everything else, there are some pros and cons to doing so. Here are 3.
1. You’ll gain experience in different fields of study. When you change your college major, you will have the experience gained in your first major, in addition to knew knowledge and expertise obtained in your next major. No matter how much you couldn’t stand your first major, you sat through months of those classes. This will come in handy during job interviews. You will be able to discuss different things you learned in each, and employers will love to hear about how you knew something wasn’t right for you and did what you had to do to find your way.
2. There’s always room to play catch up. Changing your college major mid-college career may certainly set you back some. There are prerequisites you must fulfill in order to qualify for a specific major, and the one you were originally in may have nothing to do with the one you wish to be in. But, that’s why summer classes and transfer credits were invented. You can always take classes during the summer at a community college to take the classes you need. Then, those credits may transfer in to fulfill the credits you need at your regular institution. And, it costs way less than taking summer classes at your University, or doing an entire extra regular semester.
3. You might be happier. You might want a different career path or different day-to-day coursework. Maybe your values have changed, or you’ve discovered your personality doesn’t suit your current major. Trying to figure out what to do with your life can be stressful and sometimes aggravating. Pressure from professors, parents and even yourself can take a toll. But, when you decide what is best for you and what will be worth you time, and then doing what you need to do to go for it, it can help you in many areas of your life – personally and academically.
1. Extra tuition cost. The classes in your new major may cost more than the ones in your original major. And because you have to play catch up, you may have to pay for extra classes, and possibly a couple semesters, that you wouldn’t have to pay for if you kept your first major. It is important to figure out what the extra cost will be to see if you can financially afford to change your major. If you can’t, that’s a con in itself.
2. You may not graduate on time. Changing your major could possibly hold you back from graduating with the class you planned on being in when you started college. Because there are specific class requirements you must achieve before completing your degree, it could possibly take another couple extra semesters to finish your degree with your new declared major. It’s kind of like you are traveling backwards. But, hopefully to only be flung forward into a better major with a more promising future.
3. You might not be happier. Like many things in life, changing your major, even choosing your major, is a risk. What if you don’t like it? What if you decide your first major was better for you? There are always those questions. Your major does not define how successful you’ll be. Only the ways in which your approach and react to things will be. But, your second chosen major may turn out to be not as great as you expected, or maybe even worse than the major you switched from. This has to be a chance you are willing to take if you are serious about changing your major.
Whatever major you decide you want to delve into, remember that it does not define your college experience, nor your future. You have the power to make the best of every situation you are in. If you are still struggling with the decision to change your major, there are options out there to help you with the process.
- Make and appointment with your academic adviser. Your adviser can help you map out exactly what you need to do in order to make the change, and what effects it will have on the rest of your time in college. Speaking to an adviser can help you see if changing your major will get you where you want to be, and if it will be worth it in the long run.
- Seek financial assistance. If money is an issue when trying to decide whether or not you should change majors, financial advisers are available to counsel you and determine if it is financially possible for you to make the switch.
- Take an aptitude test. If you know that you want to change your major, but you just don’t know what to change it to, there are many tests you can take, on campus and on the Internet, to help guide you into the major that is line with your personal growth and career goals.
- Talk to your peers. There are so many people right on your campus that have been in the same boat as you. Ask around for first-hand experiences, and get a feel for how other people changed majors and whether or not it helped them.
Emilyn Cahn is a writer for Society19. She is a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University.