If you’re someone with a lot of different interests and strengths, you may be hesitant to declare a major when you go to college. You may want to consider an undecided, undeclared, or exploratory major. This means you will have more time to decide on an area of study, and choose your major later in your college experience. Here we will talk about the pros and cons of being undecided, as well as steps you can take to find a major that is right for you.
Pros of Being Undecided
The main advantage to being undecided is having more time to figure out what you want! While declared students will begin their major requirements right away, you will use your time to explore different subjects while fulfilling general education requirements. It’s okay if you need more time than high school to investigate your interests and discover the path that is best for you.
Boost your GPA
If you are interested in a competitive program at your school and unsure if your current grades qualify, having an undeclared major may help you work towards the GPA you need to be accepted. You can also take a class in a related subject to see how you might perform in that major. Be sure to connect with your admissions counselor to learn more about the program. They will have insight into the program and the best timing for you to apply!
More diverse course load
By going into college undecided, you will have the freedom to learn other subjects you may not have encountered otherwise. You may find that navigating a diverse course load will result in a more well-rounded education, learning new skills that you will take with you long after you graduate. Plus, your academic advisor will be able to support you in selecting classes that make sense for your requirements as well as exploring various paths.
Cons of Being Undecided
Missing out on financial aid
Many schools offer scholarships based on specific majors and programs. By going into college undecided, you may be missing out on the chance to receive additional funding for school. You may also miss out on housing opportunities associated with those majors.
The circumstances will vary based on the program and the school you’re applying to, so be sure to connect with an admissions counselor to learn more about your programs of interest and the resources offered by the university. This last step is especially important because you want to make sure you are on the right path to be considered for financial aid. You can learn more about eligibility requirements for Federal Student Aid at this link.
When you go into college with an undecided major, you run the risk of falling behind on major credits or spending money on credits that won’t count towards graduation. That is why it’s super important to make sure you have a plan to guide you along and eventually arrive at a decision. Depending on the school you attend, most students declare a major between their freshman and sophomore years of college. For more information, read this article to learn more about graduating on-time.
Making a Plan
Look at your options
You will discover quickly that there are so many different options and areas of study in college. (Far beyond the classic Math, English, History, and Science classes you took in high school). It can be overwhelming looking at all the different choices, but take note of the ones that strike your interest. Narrow it down to subjects that make you feel excited. Don’t force yourself into something that you dislike.
Follow your strengths
You may have noticed that you like the things you’re good at, and you’re good at the things you like. It’s normal to be drawn to activities, hobbies, and interests that highlight our natural aptitudes and abilities. Remember, catering to your strengths does not mean that your studies will be easy. All majors come with challenges; you just need to figure out which area of study sparks your passion and fits into the lifestyle you hope to live. You can learn more about finding your passion with these tips!
Meet up with professors in your department of interest, and ask questions about potential professions that come out of those majors. Most schools have a degree audit or other tools that help you explore the requirements of different degrees. Make an appointment with your counselor or admission contact to inquire about these tools, and make sure your classes will count towards graduation!