Top 5 Pitfalls of Choosing the Wrong Major

When it comes to preparing for college life, students have a lot of important decisions to make. Not only do they have to figure out which college or university to apply to, they’ll have to work out their living situation, the cost of affording their higher education and—perhaps the most important—what they will major in.

Unfortunately, many students end up making the wrong choice when it comes to college majors, which oftentimes results in complications and inconveniences.

If you’re in the position to begin college soon, make sure to heed the following top 5 pitfalls that come with choosing the wrong major. The info below could save you (and your parents) a lot of grief in the long run.

  • Pitfall #1: Loss of Time

Can you imagine putting in four years of work into your major, only to realize that it’s a path you no longer want to pursue? That’s four years of assignments, exams, papers and credits you can’t take back.

The United States isn’t the only country facing the problem of college students choosing the wrong major. In Vietnam, a report conducted by the Le & Associates Company found that 15-20% of freshly graduated students recognize that they’ve chosen the wrong career. This oftentimes happens because of pursuing the wrong major.

  • Pitfall #2: Wasted Money

Spending time on a major that isn’t the right fit for a student also means a loss of funds. From tuition and fees to books and living expenses, investing in a college education is anything but cheap and if a student decides they’ve chosen the wrong degree to obtain, they’ll have lost out on money they can’t get back.

  • Pitfall #3: Starting Over

Should a student find that they’re in the wrong major while still in school, they have the option of changing majors to something they’re more interested in. According to, 60% of students change their majors before graduating. However, this process can be very involved. Additionally, changing majors means further delaying when a student can expect to graduate.

In some cases, it may be too late to take on a change in majors. College student, Adam Fayhe, shared his experience with this subject on “I wanted to work in IT related stuff. I would change my major now, but I’m too far in that it would cost me so much money to stay [at USM] for another three years that I’m not going to do it.”

  • Pitfall #4: Winding Up in the Wrong Career

While some students may have the chance to switch majors, many do not realize their mistake until after they’ve graduated and entered the workforce. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals to feel forced to go after a position they don’t truly want, simply because they invested the time and money into training for that job in college.

  • Pitfall #5: Being Unhappy

Aside from the other pitfalls mentioned above, being unhappy about the path you’ve chosen is one of the worst consequences to choosing the wrong major.


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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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