How to Know When It’s Time to Change Your Major

In many colleges and universities, selecting majors isn’t required until the junior year. If you’re now a freshman or sophomore, you should be having an effective general education, preparing to devote your junior and senior years to career development.

If you’ve already selected a major, have you been considering how well it can actually help in a real-life career? In a tough economy, how many job offers will there be for English lit majors compared to those graduates with computer science degrees?

If you’ve chosen one of the purely academic degree majors, maybe you know it’s time to change to a more career-oriented direction? Consider some decisions you may want to make while you still have time to change majors.

1) You chose a major because it seemed cool.

Many students enter college with the high-minded intent to study pure academics. They believe college education is primarily intended to improve the mind, not to prepare to get involved in the working world. They’re attracted to the classics, literature, sociology, and other traditional studies.

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If that’s what you’ve done, and are in your junior or senior year, reexamine the reality of what you can expect when you get your diploma. Maybe it’s time to change your major or add a second major in education. You can still pursue your academic courses, but as a certified teacher, you’ll have a better chance in the job market.

2) Your current major was a major mistake.

You didn’t expect it to be so difficult, or worse, so boring. Once that becomes your attitude, your grades are certain to suffer, and all the work you’ve done so far may have been wasted. Worse still, you may get discouraged and just drop out of college.

3) You’re earning poor grades in courses of your current major.

Whatever the reason, if you’re not doing well, consider that you may be wasting your college years. You should be able to show decent grades when you apply for a job or for entry into graduate school.

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4) You didn’t choose the right major in the first place.

After talking with other students, professors and advisers, you’ve come up with what you believe will be a better field of study. You’ve been in college a while, and believe you are more mature in making plans. There’s no need to stick with a major that has become boring or useless in your more evolved career plans.

5) Don’t make the decision alone.

Have serious discussions with college staff, advisers, and your parents. Tell them you believe it’s time to change your major. Give your reasons as truthfully as possible. If you’re changing from majoring in minor Shakespeare sonnets to advanced computer development, you can be sure your parents will happily agree with your choice.

If you’re having problems after you’re into the first or second semester with your selected major, make the right step into a more practical one. You’ll have plenty of successful career years to be thankful you’ve made the right choice.