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What Does It Mean to Have an Undeclared Major?  

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The switch to college is big; you must make a decision that can change your life. But what if you don’t know what you want to do? As you prepare to apply for college, you’ll realize most schools will accommodate students who can’t decide a major by letting them choose an undeclared major. As you apply, keep your options in mind.  

What Does Undeclared Mean?  

An undeclared major is when you haven’t decided on any specific major or path. Students that haven’t declared a major will mostly take general education classes that’ll help you explore your options. It’s important to take a lot of different introductory classes for different fields or disciplines you might be interested in. 

Why Should You Go Undecided? 

  • If you’re not sure what career you want to pursue after college, being undecided will give you a chance to explore your options.   
  • If your high school GPA doesn’t reflect your potential, you can spend time undeclared fixing it with classes that have a higher potential for a better GPA.  
  • It will give you time to develop a diverse skillset in a lot of areas so you can be a more well-rounded student. 
  • You can avoid unnecessary courses – instead of declaring too early and taking courses that don’t align with your path, you can spend time taking general and introductory classes.  

Why Shouldn’t You Go Undecided? 

  • It can show a lack of focus – Applying as undecided can display a lack of specificity in your application which sometimes may not be ideal.  
  • Missing out on scholarship and accelerated program opportunities – A lot of scholarships and accelerated programs are major-specific, being undeclared can cause you to lose out on a lot of opportunities.  
  • Risk taking extra coursework or graduating later than anticipated – When taking extra classes, it can cause you to take classes that weren’t that important to the major you choose. 

When Do You Want to Declare a Major?  

Most of the time you must declare a major by the end of your second year in college. To avoid staying in college longer than you need and to graduate on time, it’s important to try and declare a major sooner than later.  

Tips on Declaring a Major 

  • Study what you’re interested in – Once you declare a major, you’ll want to make sure you enjoy it. It’s important to explore as much as possible throughout your time either before college or as an undeclared major.  
  • Research coursework – When declaring your major, make sure you look into the coursework and requirements that you need when pursuing the major. Make sure the coursework aligns with your interests.  
  • Look into jobs – Knowing what career path you can take is important when deciding a major, and if there’s a specific career you want, see what major best fits that.

Deciding a major in college can be stressful, whether you know what career you want to pursue or not. Going undecided is always a great option in both circumstances and can be all around beneficial for your personal growth.  

Infographic on how to get started

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