Here’s Why Changing College Majors is Normal
Changing Majors Is A Decision Many Students Make During College…
With the excitement leading up to a student’s first college semester, they have a lot to juggle: applying to college, graduation, and enjoying their last summer as a high school student. Choosing a major that truly suits them isn’t exactly among their top priorities. This is likely why students often have second thoughts about their college major later on down the road.
Fortunately, if your child has expressed an interest in other majors, there’s no need to panic. Changing college majors is completely normal, and it can even put your child on the fast-track to discovering what they really want to study. Encourage your child to carefully consider changing their major by doing plenty of research and asking themselves specific questions to steer them in the right direction.
Why Do So Many Students Change Their College Major?
Changing majors is actually quite common for college students. In 2014, 30 percent of undergraduates had changed their major at least once within 3 years of their initial enrollment. It’s tricky for students to narrow down their interests to one academic area, meaning sometimes they simply need more time for them to find their niche!
It’s also important to remember that changing majors isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can often be viewed as a setback, but there can be plenty of positive outcomes for students when they change majors.
College can be a disappointing experience for students when they have to go to classes they don’t enjoy. Students are supposed to look forward to their classes, apply themselves, and get excited about the work they’re doing. Without this enthusiasm, they’re only wasting their time, energy, and money on a degree they probably won’t end up using.
The only way for students to truly succeed in college is through true excitement for their classes and genuine enthusiasm for their major. So, if your child has expressed disinterest in their chosen college major, it could be worth encouraging them to explore other options.
What To Consider Before Changing College Majors
While changing college majors is normal, it’s still a big deal. A student’s college major can determine everything about their college experience, including their friend group, class schedule, extracurricular requirements, and even things like financial aid and their projected graduation date.
This is why it’s so important for students to consider every possible outcome before officially changing their major.
FINDING A MAJOR THAT SUITS YOU
Your child’s number one priority should be finding a major that truly suits them. Encourage your child to look at their high school career and personal interests to find the subjects they naturally gravitate towards. There’s usually more evidence in plain sight than they realize, so all they have to do is ask the right questions!
A well-suited major will highlight a student’s already-existing strengths, and provide just the right amount of challenge to push them past their weaknesses. If your child is genuinely unsure what they should study in college, they should consider selecting an Undecided major to give themselves a clean slate to start with.
Your child should ask themselves:
- Which classes did I excel in?
- What subjects do I enjoy the most?
- What do I feel compelled to study?
- What do my peers and teachers say my strengths and weaknesses are?
OPENING MORE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Changing majors could also result in more career opportunities. The main purpose of a college major is to prepare students for their career, so students should use this as an opportunity to clarify their passions and skills. Without a genuine drive for what they're working towards, they won’t get everything they can out of their college major.
Encourage them to ask themselves:
- How do I most enjoy serving my community?
- Where do I see opportunities to contribute to the world?
- What kind of career can I see myself in for the long term?
- How can my passions connect to a career?
A POTENTIAL GRADUATION PUSH-BACK
If your student waits to change their college major until their sophomore or junior year of college, they could risk a push-back on their graduation date. Of course, this completely depends on the scale of their major change. If your child switches majors on a smaller scale, and ends up staying in their original academic department, then their chances of pushing back their graduation date are low. A good example of this would be something like changing from Microbiology to Macrobiology, or Theatre Performance to Theatre Production.
However, if they're considering changing academic departments, then you should encourage them to make this major change sooner rather than later to avoid pushing their graduation back by a year or two. A good example of a large scale major change is switching from Music to Nursing, or Business to Visual Arts.
A POTENTIAL FINANCIAL SET-BACK
Lastly, because of a potential graduation push-back, changing their major could easily cause an increase in their overall cost of college. Staying in college longer means that they have to pay more tuition or find more financial aid to help them all the way to graduation.
Before they officially change their major, make sure your child knows the possible financial implications of this decision. Also, encourage them to check with their scholarships, grants, or other financial aid to make sure they would still be covered under a different major.
Changing Your Major
Overall, changing majors is totally normal, however, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some students change their majors several times within their four years of college, and never truly discover what they’re good at because they didn’t give each major enough time. If your child is considering changing their college major, encourage them to ask themselves some questions about their skills, passions, and goals for their life. Then, don’t forget to review any financial aid your child has in place to ensure that their cost of college won’t be affected by their decision.
Overall, changing majors could be exactly what your child needs to feel excited about their school work again. They just need to be aware of the side effects their decision can cause. This is why it’s a great idea to get plenty of counseling to discover what their best fit major is the first go around. Fortunately, WeAdmit’s professional counselors are experts at helping students find the right major for their goals, so they can avoid a major change down the road!
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