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Career Switching

How to Switch Your Major (and Stick With It)

If you feel like your undergraduate major is not working out, and you are nervous about the consequences of switching, do not worry! Many, many people have been in your shoes, made the decision, and survived. They were probably even better off for making the change.

In my experience, entering college without a sure idea of what you wanted to study was a joke, and anyone between majors was viewed as having no direction. All of that is completely untrue, so to start, let’s erase others’ opinions from the consideration of changing your major.

Why Change Majors?

There could be any number of reasons why a major no longer satisfies. Some reasons include:

  • No longer interesting
  • Subject matter is too difficult
  • Field is extremely competitive
  • Field has unstable job security
  • Field has low-paying career options

Whatever it is, this major is no longer suitable, and that is perfectly okay. It is important to find an area of study that both makes you happy and will support you in your life. There is nothing wrong with having chosen one that you now decide doesn’t exactly fit.

Considering there is a multitude of options for a new major, the only thing left to do is start picking which ones you do not want to do. If you’re anything like me, it was harder to pick what I do want to do than to pick what I don’t want to do.

Choose a Different Major

One simple way to learn more about other majors is to ask around to other people who are in that field and see what they think of it. Another way is to study the major online, look at their coursework or the careers that spring from that major, and decide if it sounds like something you are interested in. You can also talk to your advisors, since they know the most about what classes are required and what most students do on the side to succeed in their study. It’s even possible to take a “trial” course in that major, and decide from there if you like it or not. This is a more time-consuming option, but it gives a strong view into the subject.

Once you have found a major you like, you have to go to your advisor to let them know you want to switch majors. Usually, some sort of “change of major” form will be involved where you have to sign your name proving that you agree to this change. Make sure you review the change with your advisor as your graduation requirements may change. From there, you sign up for your new classes under that major and you’re set.

Second Thoughts

Now the dreaded question comes up: “What if I don’t like this major either?” Ideally, you would only officially change major if you were very sure, so that you would not be jumping schools of study very often. In the case you do stumble into another unwanted major, however, it’s not the end of the world. Essentially, the process just starts over again.

Remember that there may not be a major that suits you perfectly. It may have a couple of courses that are impossibly hard. Perhaps you had a professor who told you that you weren’t cut out for that field. In any case, you have to look at the big picture and keep these things in mind:

  1. There are many ways in which your major will aide you in life, and some are not career-related. No amount of educating yourself goes wasted.
  2. What you learn in school may not be as helpful as pure experience in your line of work, so do not dread the subjects that you struggle with in class.
  3. Only you know what you are capable of and have the power to decide what suits you and what does not.

Sometimes you have to choose the major you think works best and roll with whatever punches it throws at you. In the end, your decision will serve to help you, wherever you go.

 

Angela-CoquisAngela Coquis is a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is majoring in Management Information Systems and wants to live abroad and pursue a career in database management. She enjoys Virtual Campus and her dream job is owning a bakery.

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