Why Would You Ever Change Your Major?

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Changing your major carries a lot of stigma. Everyone—parents, professors, society in general—pressures you to make a decision and stick to it. Most students find the decision stressful, especially those of us still working on common core requirements. However, the decision to change your major shouldn’t bring you too much stress.

Keep reading to find out why you shouldn’t fear changing your major according to yours truly, along with some tips on how to determine what major suits you best.

More people change their major than you think.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 33 percent of college students change their declared major in their first three years of college. I myself changed my program about seven times (including changing my minor, certificates, honors, etc.).

How to determine the right choice: Talk to an advisor. You’ll see this advice repeated often for good reason. Your advisor has helped plenty of students pick a major, and therefore knows quite a bit about the college experience as a whole.

Choosing a major has a huge impact on your life.

Your field of study could directly determine job possibilities in the future, as most employers look for candidates with degrees in specific fields. You can see what possible employers look for on job sites like LinkedIn or Zip Recruiter.

How to determine the right choice: Most colleges have career services centers. These centers hire experts who know what degrees will help you in different careers. As an added bonus, they usually have free resume and cover letter editing services to help you get an edge over other job candidates.

Your interests may have changed.

This qualifies as one of the most common reasons for changing your major. Don’t settle simply because you think you have to be interested in the same thing you liked in high school. If you choose to major in computer science, but you find yourself absolutely hating Programming 101, then consider looking for a new major. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about switching because you don’t like it. You don’t want to be stuck doing something you hate for the rest of your life (see number 2).

How to determine the right choice: Again, save yourself the stress of having to look everything up on your own and talk to advisors. You can also talk to your friends, family or even professors. A lot of the time, hearing yourself talk through a problem can help you come up with a solution. If you don’t get excited talking about what you’re studying, you probably won’t get excited doing that for work every day.

You may discover something new in college.

College provides great opportunities to discover new things. This goes beyond just the things you learn in class. You can discover plenty of majors that you may not have heard of, and some of them fit into a smaller niche than others in order to cater to your interests. Even if you can’t find something exactly like what you want, you can always earn certificates or minors to customize your college experience.

How to determine the right choice: Say it with me now: Talk to an advisor. In my first semester, I met with an advisor and told him my interests (rhetoric, syntax and programming). He then told me about the field of computational linguistics. Before that meeting, I didn’t know what linguistics was, let alone computational linguistics. Now I’m working on my Master’s in linguistics and aiming for a job with Google post-graduation. You may also want to do some digging and take courses that are different than your major as you fill those elective credits.

Changing your major can definitely be daunting. But you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Your college has plenty of resources available that can help you decide exactly what you want to do with your university career and beyond, so make use of them.

Gabriel is working towards his MA in Linguistics at Florida International University. He has a passion for reading, technology, and AI (which won't take over the world, btw).

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