Changing Your Major - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Changing Your Major

If you're thinking about changing your major, you're in good company. It happens all the time at colleges across the country. In fact, one recent study at a major university showed that 75% to 85% of the students who entered college with a declared major ended up changing it at least once before graduation. Below are some things to consider.

Changing Your Major During Freshman or Sophomore Year:

If you change your major during your first two years, you:

  • May still graduate on time, depending on:
    • Your program.
    • The number of general education vs. core classes you've taken.
  • Should visit with your academic advisor to:
    • Find out how you go about switching your major.
    • Discuss requirements or any waiting lists for your new major.

Changing Your Major During Junior or Senior Year:

If you decide to change your major in the your final two years, it may mean you:

  • May not graduate when you planned.
  • May end up paying more in college costs.
  • Should discuss your options with:
    • Your academic advisor.
    • The financial aid office.
    • The campus career center.

Is It Too Late to Change Your Major?

If you really wish you had chosen a different major but it's simply too late for you to change, these strategies can help:

  • Focus on your skills, not their labels. Many skills are useful for any type of job. Biology research, for example, may give you the skills to gather, analyze and make sense of any type of information.
  • Get the right experience. No matter what your major is, you can intern in fields that reflect your new interests. On-the-job experience will be as valuable as, or more valuable than, the right major to employers.
  • Use the rest of your time wisely. You might be just a few credits short of a minor or find out that a certification program doesn't require a lot more coursework. Talk to your advisor about how you can develop skills that will make you competitive in your chosen field. Find clubs or organizations that will reinforce your skills or give you leadership opportunities.
  • Think about going on. Some graduate programs allow students from any major to apply. Continuing your education will mean more expenses and may keep you from entering the workforce right away, so research programs and the schools offering them carefully to make an informed decision.

 

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