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What to know Before Changing your Major

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Posted on February 12, 2015 by Delaware Valley College.

If you aren’t happy with the program you’re currently in or you’re interested in a different career after college than you originally planned, you may be considering changing your major. While it’s important to enjoy your classes and enter a field that means something to you, changing your major can throw off your college plan. All of the work you completed over the years may not count toward your new major.

So before you change your major, there are a few things you must take into consideration:

Will you be able to use any of your credits? If you’re staying in the same area of study at your college, you may be able to use some of the classes that you’ve already taken toward your new major. In fact, you’ll still be able to use most of your general education courses. However, if you’ve completed a lot of focused coursework for your current major, chances are those credits won’t apply to the requirements of your new major. 

How long will you have to attend college? If you won’t be able to use a lot of your credits toward a new major, you may need to attend college for a few years longer than you originally planned. This may be a deal breaker for students who don’t want to spend more than four years in college. The financial burden of extra semesters may also discourage students from changing majors.   

What does your advisor think? While changing your major is ultimately your decision, it’s a good idea to discuss such a change with your advisor. He or she has likely dealt with many students who have changed majors over the years and will be able to assess your situation and determine whether it’s a good idea.  

You should also set up an appointment to speak with the advisor in the major you’re considering switching to. This will give you a better idea of the program and the course work required. Make sure you also discuss whether there are any capstone projects you’ll need to complete upon graduation. 

Consider a minor instead. If you’re interested in learning more about a different subject but still want to continue with your current major, look into adding a minor. Fulfilling the required coursework for a minor typically isn’t as challenging, and you may only need to add a couple of courses to your schedule each year. This is a great way to be exposed to a different field and gain more knowledge in that area without having to change your entire college plan.

Changing your major may be necessary if you’re no longer interested in your courses and you’re unmotivated to learn about the subject matter. But it may end up throwing your entire college plan off course. It’s best to change your major within the first couple of semesters of college when you’re taking mostly general education courses anyway. 

Take these tips into consideration before making the decision to change your major.