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How to Change Your Major in College

Last updated March 14, 2024

If you got to college and realized that the major you planned on pursuing no longer interests you or aligns with your career path, it’s totally okay! Changing your major is normal– about one-third of college students do so during their time in school. Before making any decisions, however, there are a few important things to consider first. Here’s what you need to know about changing your college major!

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Know that it’s normal

Changing your mind about what you want to study is completely normal. You likely chose your major when applying to your college during your senior year of high school, and since then, you may have had new experiences or gained perspectives that changed how you view your academic and career interests. It would make sense that changing your major can help you better align with your hopes for the future! This is especially true when considering the time and money you’re spending on college. It’s ideal to study something you’re passionate about and that can open the door to careers you’re interested in! 

Meet with your academic advisor

Before making a decision about changing your major, meet with your academic advisor for support. They can help you decide if changing your major is the best course of action for your goals and assist in creating an academic plan that ensures you graduate on time.

Research your school’s process

Each college has its own process for changing majors, so make sure you understand your school's specific requirements beforehand. For example, some colleges may allow you to change majors through your student portal, while others will require you to submit a formal request to your desired department or major. If you’re not sure what will be required of you when changing majors, look on your college’s website or ask your academic advisor in your next meeting. 

Consider important academic and extracurricular factors 

Changing your major can be complex depending on your situation and timing. Consider the following factors in your decision-making process:

  • Would I have enough time to complete my new major requirements in the years I have left in school? 
    • Depending on when you decide to change your major, it could extend your time in school. If completing your degree in four years is important to you, consider this possibility and whether changing your major would ultimately be worth the extra time and money. 
  • Is it okay if I take longer than I expected to complete my degree?
    • It’s totally okay to complete your degree in a timeframe that works best for you– but remember, you’re spending both time and money. If changing your major can extend your time in school by multiple terms or years, and you’re attending college with the help of financial aid like loans, it may not be worth it. Taking on a significant amount of debt just to study your desired major is usually not advised. 
  • Will changing majors impact my ability to pursue my current extracurriculars (jobs, internships, clubs, etc.)? 
    • Changing majors can impact your class schedule in a term or year, which could change the amount of time you have in a given week to work, hang out with friends, or attend club meetings. If your extracurriculars are an important part of your college experience, consider how changing your major could affect them. 
  • Would I be able to handle the increased workload if I needed to take more major-required classes in a shorter amount of time?
    • Changing majors later in your college career might impact the amount of classes you have to take each term to complete your degree requirements on time to graduate. Be certain that increasing your academic workload to accommodate your major change will work for you.  
  • Would changing majors impact my financial aid?
    • Chat with your academic advisor or someone in your school’s financial aid office about the potential impact on your financial aid if you were to change your major. For example, if you switched to a major that freed up your schedule and allowed you to take less classes, you would still want to ensure that you’d at least be taking full-time credits, since many forms of financial aid are only awarded to full-time students. Additionally, if you received a scholarship for pursuing a specific major, contact the scholarship provider about how changing your major might affect your award.
  • If I don’t get into my desired major, would I consider transferring?
    • How important is pursuing a certain major to you? If you didn’t get accepted to your new major, would you still pursue your current one? Or would you transfer to another college? This is a huge decision to make, so be sure to talk to your advisor and a trusted family member about your options. 

Consider the impacts to your intended career path

If your major is tied to the career you hope to pursue, it will be important to think through the impact of switching to another major. For example, if you are hoping to pursue a career in computer science, it will not make sense to switch to a major that doesn’t teach you skills in that industry. However, there are some career paths that will offer flexibility in major choice. You can always get an internship or apprenticeship in the field you’re interested in to gain valuable hands-on experience! 

Have any questions about changing your college major? Text #College to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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