When Is It Too Late to Change a College Major?

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If you are debating whether or not to change a college major, you may be surprised to learn that about 50% of college students go through with changing their major at some point in time during their college careers. With so many different majors to choose from, and demand in specific fields dramatically on the rise, students can be bombarded when they are 18 and entering college.

Many teenagers who enter college cannot decide what they want for dinner let alone what they want to do for the rest of their lives. While indecisiveness is very common early on in any student’s college career, there is a limit to how indecisive you can be. Waiting too late to change a college major can cost students both time and money, and here is your guide to learning when the right time to change would be.

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When is the Right Time to Change a College Major?

Selecting the perfect major for you is ideal, but for many, the idea of selecting a major without having any college experience can be very intimidating. Some universities will allow students to attend college as an undeclared student for their freshmen year, and others will require that all students select a major to receive financial aid and specific types of credit. When students are forced to select a major to attend school, they are much more likely to change their majors once, twice, or even three times, but there is a good time to change majors and a bad time.

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It is best to speak with your counselor before you make any official decisions, but in general, most counselors will recommend that students change their major after their first year. If the student is struggling with the core courses or uninterested in the curriculum, it may be a good sign that it is time for a change. Students who do not get to common core courses until their second or third year may want to change a little later, and this could pose problems. It is important to understand the ramifications of switching majors before you change too late.

What Are the Ramifications of Changing Majors Too Late?

If you are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, generally, the first two years of schooling will be dedicated to general education coursework and some lower level core courses. These core courses may satisfy both major requirements and general education requirements, but when you select a new major you may have additional credits to earn. This can delay the time it takes to earn your degree, and also raise the total amount of tuition you will pay throughout your student career. If you must complete more courses and take a new path, you need to consider the academic and financial ramifications before you declare a new major.

It is very important to put thought into selecting your major when you are registering for school initially. Research the options, participate in job shadowing and take courses of interest rather than just courses that are required. If you can go undeclared for your first year and find what you are passionate about. After you do this, review the course and degree catalog, and see which majors will fit for you. While it is best not to change if you need to change a college major, do it early.

Related: Do I Need to Declare a Major in the First Year of College?

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