Having an undecided major is okay – trust us. And here’s why.
One big advantage of going to school in the United States is that you do not have to declare a major right away. In fact, many U.S. universities do not require you to declare a major until the end of your second year of study. You can apply to the university of your choice with an undeclared major and decide on your area of study later. Going to college with an undecided major is okay. It might even be the best choice for you.
5 reasons why you can wait to decide on a major.
1. You are still on schedule
Most colleges will require a certain number of general education classes. These are classes that every student has to take, regardless of their major. The purpose of these courses is to give you a basic understanding of many foundational topics. Students who are undecided can take their general education classes, sometimes called “gen eds,” in the first two years of study even if they don’t know what major they would like to declare. Taking these classes first means that you’re still on schedule to graduate even though you haven’t declared a major yet.
2. Your interests might change
One of the great reasons to study in the United States is the diversity of subjects available. When you start your first year of study, you may think you know what major you want, but as you are exposed to more ideas, your interests may change. You can get involved in clubs, take unusual electives, and talk to people working in local businesses. All of these opportunities give you access to new ideas and potential areas of study. If you wait to declare your major, you can be sure that you have picked the area of study that really interests you, and not just that seemed safe or familiar.
3. You can change your mind
Even if you do declare a major when you apply, you’re not stuck with that area of study. As long as it is within your first two years of college, you can change your mind without falling behind. While you are in college, you may discover topics or specialties you never even knew existed. An undecided major gives you the best opportunity to explore those options before you declare.
4. The choice is yours
Many students feel pressure from parents, teachers or society to choose a major that fit the expectations of their family or culture. Starting your studies with an undecided major helps you make sure that the major you choose is the right one for you, not just the one that is expected of you.
5. You can customize your major
It’s possible to double major, that is to earn two different majors at once, or to major in one topic and minor in another. Fortunately, you don’t have to decide on all of those options when you apply. You have plenty of time to explore opportunities and find the major, or majors, that will help you achieve your dreams.
If you do want to declare a major at application, that is okay too. Check out our guidance on how to choose the right major for you.
Not sure if you are ready to declare a major? Talk to a counselor who can help you choose the right major for you, or help you apply with an undecided major.