What Happens If I Don’t Like My Major?

Kids always change their minds about what they want to be when they grow up, and the same goes for college students. Maybe you came to college determined to be a pre-med major but then learn you can’t stand the sight of blood; you switch to your newfound passion and become a theater major. That’s okay!

According to NBC news, 80% of college-bound students have not declared a major and 50% of students that do declare a major end up switching it sometime during their four years.

The truth is, there are very few consequences when changing majors throughout your college career. It’s so difficult to know with absolute certainty what you want to do with your future before taking the courses that will prepare you.

Throughout my experience at college, I’ve met several people who have changed their majors. Some have changed a couple times within the first two years or others even switched during their junior year.

When I entered college, I was undecided for my whole freshman year. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I declared a communication-electronic media major and my junior year that I declared a minor in English. Once I started taking the courses for these fields, I knew it was the department I was meant to be in.

There are a few misconceptions about switching majors and I’d like to clear some of them up for you before you get to college.

If I change my major I’ll have to spend more time in school and won’t be able to graduate with my classmates, right?”

Well, not necessarily. This is probably the most common fear that college students have about switching their majors. My response is that this only applies to when you switch your major. For example, if you change your major during your freshman year, you most likely will NOT be delayed in your four year education plan.

If you switch sophomore year, you’ll probably be able to still graduate “on time” with your classmates if you take some summer classes. If you switch as a junior, unfortunately I don’t think it’s possible to graduate within a four year span. However, you might only have to stay for an extra semester (depending on the major) if you also look into summer courses.

Nowadays, more and more students are actually staying at college for a longer period of time as opposed to the typical four year education. Certain majors offer an extra year of experience through internship or co-op positions. Don’t let delay upset you because you’ll be getting excellent experience for your career after graduation!

“I want to change my major, but does that mean I just wasted all that time with my current major?”

No. At one point, you truly believed that you would be satisfied with that career path. If you had not taken those courses, you would have never known that it simply wasn’t what you were passionate about.

  • I still believe the most important part of your college education is to get prepared for a career that you are full-heartily passionate about.

“What happens if I don’t like the new major I pick, can I switch again?”

Yes. The nerve-racking truth is that you won’t completely know if you’ve chosen the perfect major for you until you start taking classes. As I mentioned before, when I switched to communication, I had no idea if it was going to be the right major for my interests. I simply looked through my school’s list of majors and thought it was more interesting to me than the rest.

However, once I started taking the classes…I knew. My sister began her freshman year as a mechanical engineering major. After first semester, she found that it truly wasn’t what she had expected it to be. She switched to an environmental biology major and now she’s a lot happier.

Another friend of mine switched his major his junior year. He knew it would be rough to switch this late in his college career, but now that he’s taking the classes for his new major, he’s finally satisfied with his choice. It was the right decision for his future and career path.

I hope these examples make you realize (and trust me, there are SO many more situations like them) that switching your major is a lot more common than you may believe. Find the major that you truly enjoy. If it takes a few changes, then so be it. Figure out the career you’re most passionate about in college so that you’re set on the right path to success after your graduation.

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Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk

Stephanie Vlk is a junior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in communication with a concentration in electronic media as well as a minor in English. While not in class, Stephanie is involved in a service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and a honors professional fraternity, Phi Beta Chi. Outside of academic and community activities, she enjoys dancing hip hop, reading, spending time with friends, and doing yoga.