Before graduating high school, many students choose to continue their education at a university or college to obtain either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in order to best prepare themselves further for a desired career. Students enrolled in a two-year or four-year post-high school institution are required to declare a major, a curriculum of required classes that will best prepare a student for a career in a specific field of study, or even for furthering education to the graduate level.
When applying for a university after completing a GED or obtaining a high school diploma, students enter a university mark on their application what major or field of study they would like to pursue. However, students may change their mind. In fact, one of the greatest challenges for students is determining which major or field of study will best prepare them for a future career. According to studies conducted by the National Center of Education, 80% of college students in the United States change their major at least once, and on average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career.
Because of this, other universities require students to complete a general studies curriculum during their freshman year and apply into a major field of study after completion of all general university requirements. The main determinant of acceptance into a major field of study at these universities is usually the student’s GPA.
When students are in the situation in which they first enter a university as “undecided” or “undeclared”, they are expected to declare a major upon completion of their first semester at a university. Many students can determine which major is best for them by attending a major/minor fair to see the fields of study offered by a university, along with meeting the academic advisors of each department to get a better idea of what pursuing a specific major entails, along with potential career opportunities.
Students should also consider their skill set and interests when deciding upon a major. Choosing a major is a huge decision as it will impact the courses a student will study, and can dictate future career and graduate level education opportunities.
Deciding upon a major is a huge commitment and sometimes is a choice made in a short amount of time. Due to a lack of time and experience, students are not always completely sure that a chosen field of study is what would best prepare them for a future field of study. As a result, students may change their major.
There are several signs in which students should consider changing their major. For example, a student’s skill set may fare better in a different field of study—a big indicator of this is poor performance in certain classes. Another instance is a lack of interest in the major. Some students choose certain majors because of pressure from their family and peers. As an individual nearing adulthood, it is important to obtain the proper education required for future success in a desired career.
Students must remember that it is normal to change majors, not only once, but twice, or three times. While there may be delays in graduation due to a lack of course equivalencies between curriculums, students need to ensure they receive the proper education and preparation necessary to thrive and be successful in their professional lives.