The Great Freshman Debate – How Quickly Do You Need to Choose a Major?



Photo Credit: Jason Mit

When it comes to attending college, there’s no shortage of pressure. Your teachers, parents, coaches, counselors, and just about everyone under the sun is interested in your decision. They have lots of advice to give (solicited or not), and they have tons of questions. “Where do you want to go? What do you want to study?” they ask. Well, what if you don’t know? These are major decisions – you know that because everyone has made it very clear to you how much they’ll affect the rest of your life. So why are you expected to rush and quickly decide such important things? After you’ve finally determined what school you’re going to, how soon do you have to declare your major?

It IS a Major Decision

Choosing a major truly is just as important as everyone makes it out to be. No, your major doesn’t necessarily determine exactly what you’ll end up doing as a career. Lots of people fall into related or completely different lines of work than what they studied. But it’s important to adequately prepare yourself for your dream job if you ever hope to get it. What you do as a career is a huge part of your identity, not to mention a huge part of your routine and daily existence. So no matter what anyone else tells you, such major decisions should never be hurried. There is no rush to declare your major.
Relax, You DO Have Plenty of Time

If you feel like there’s some kind of ticking time bomb that will surely blow up if you wait too long to pick a major, you’re not alone. Lots of people choose a major simply because they want to avoid selecting the dreaded “undecided.” But what is the big hurry? Hardly anyone finishes college in four years anymore, even when they know exactly what they want to do. You actually have a few years to decide your major. You can feasibly spend your entire first two years at school just taking the general courses that are required of everyone. And after core courses and courses for your major, you always have some credits left to play with. Use them in the beginning by taking classes just because they’re interesting to you. Take your time and test the waters before diving in.

Making the Wrong Decision

When you feel pressured and choose a major too quickly, you’re much more likely to end up regretting it. If you realize you’ve chosen the wrong major, don’t stick with it. Switch immediately – or just go back to “undecided.” Lots of people end up graduating and wishing they had done something different. So remember that you do not need to choose a major within the first two years of college. When you’re midway through your third year it might be about time to come to a decision, but by then you’ll be a lot more prepared. So if you are undecided, don’t feel bad – be proud. You’re really showing how serious you are about your education by not settling for any major “just because.” Dare to be undeclared!

Mark Weatherford is a high school English teacher and avid writer who enjoys blogging when he has the time. He directs most of his content at helping students with college essays and other homework.

Author: SmartStudent

SmartStudent is an educational portal that provides information & advice to aspiring students. regarding applying to university, choosing a course, what to take to university, finding student accommodation and much more.

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