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What to Do if You Don’t Get Into Your Chosen Major

Last updated November 30, 2020

When you enroll in a college, you will need to declare a major by the end of your second year or earlier. The general process involves submitting an application with the courses you believe fulfill the prerequisites of your intended major, and then hearing from the department to see if you were accepted. Some majors are more competitive than others and can only accept a limited number of students. If you don't get in, here's what you can do.

Make an appointment with your advisor

They will have advice and may have other options available to you. Bring questions and any paperwork that you usually bring to advising meetings. You may want to research some of your options beforehand (backup major, similar majors, etc).

Apply again (if you can)

After you've met with your advisor and if this is an option, apply again. It could be that the round of applications was competitive for the cycle you applied too. Ask students currently in the major what they did to standout in their applications. If you can and if it's possible, speak with the people who review the applications to see what you can do to stand out.

Research a secondary major

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. What is another major that you are interested in? To make your existing classes and credits count, look at majors that have almost the same prerequisites. Your advisor can help you identify one.

Make your major a minor

If a minor is offered in the major you weren't accepted into, look at the requirements to make it your minor.

Transfer to a different school

This is a pretty drastic option, but if it is a major that you are passionate about and want to pursue, this can be an option to consider. Reach out to the admissions office of the school you're interested in transferring to, ask about admission requirements, transferring credits, and ask about the competitiveness of the major you are interested in. You want the acceptance rate to be higher than your current school.

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