How to Cope with Changing Your Major

Many students have experienced it: You’re sitting in your hardest course of the semester when that dreaded thought creeps up in the back of your mind:

“Am I in the right major?”
“What if I’m not good at this?”
“Do I even like this?”

Choosing a major may be one of the hardest things you’ll have to do in your college career and with good reason – each one offers a unique set of courses, career options, and opportunities. However, many students find themselves unhappy with the original major they chose, and that’s okay. Your major is like a map: it should help guide you to where you want to go. Don’t like the journey? You can always pick a different route.

Changing your major can be a stressful decision, and I applaud you for even having the courage to consider it. It can be nerve-wracking to think about “starting over”, but changing your major may enhance your entire college experience. There’s no one good reason to change your major; the best reason is that you (sorry, Mom) feel it is the right thing to do.

Not sure if it is? Here are a few things to consider:

Hard Pass or Hard Class?

Okay, time to be honest with yourself and do a little self-reflecting: Is the problem that this major doesn’t align well with your goals and aspirations, or is it that you’re struggling academically in a class? Both are valid reasons to change your major, but the distinction in why you’re changing your major can help you find a better suited one for you. Dreading going to your Multivariable Calculus class? Try seeking out less math-intensive majors. Falling asleep in your Foreign Film classes? Look for majors with material that engages you.

Career Day

Think back to elementary school when you dressed up as your dream career for a day. If you were asked to do that tomorrow, what would you dress up as? Working backward from your career aspirations to your major can be a useful guide when choosing a major. Does your current major not align with your desired career? If it doesn’t, this could be an opportunity to look into majors that do. Keep in mind, however, that many careers have many doors that lead to them: engineering majors can become attorneys, education majors can become Human Resource specialists, and history majors can become political advisors. Just because your major isn’t the traditional route to your dream career doesn’t mean it can’t get you there.

Lucky Lottery Winner

Imagine you were just told you won the lottery. Now that you have this incredible amount of money and don’t have to work a day in your life, what passion do you want to pursue? More times than not, pursuing your passion as a career leads to more fulfilling lives, both professionally and personally. Can’t find a major that aligns with your passion? Double major, or even create an individualized major! Even if your passion can’t be taught within the walls of a classroom, consider a major that would complement your passion or give you the tools to make it profitable, like entrepreneurship or marketing.

So you’ve decided you’re going to change your major, now what?

Decide on a New Major

If you’re still not entirely sure which new major you want to pursue, you can explore possible majors and career paths using The Major Experience!

Meet with Your Academic Advisor

Your academic advisor can help you figure out the requirements needed to switch into your intended major. They will also assist you in the administrative portion of switching majors, like any paperwork or applications that need to be completed.

Work Towards Meeting the Requirements for Your Desired New Major

If you don’t meet the requirements for your desired new major right away, don’t worry! Collaborate with your academic advisor (and even an advisor in your intended major, if possible) to come up with a plan on how you can meet the requirements to change your major.

Meet with a Career Coach

The career coaches at the Center for Career Development can help make your journey to a new major less intimidating and can assist you in navigating everything that opportunity brings with it. No matter where you are in this process, meeting with a career coach can help you feel more confident in your decision.

Celebrate! You officially survived changing your major!

By Nayara Zainadine
Nayara Zainadine Profile Picture