Most of the easily accessible advice regarding switching majors comes from official university blogs and news publications. Where's all the advice from people who've actually been through this tough process? I decided to draw from my personal experience and those of my friends. If you're considering changing your major, look no further. Let me preface this post by saying you are not alone in any uncertainty you may have about your chosen major. I took a brief Facebook poll:
I was wowed by all of the responses! Below are successful student leaders, young professionals, and people who are well into their careers - and happy with their decisions. The responses keep coming, too!
I changed my major during my first semester of school, after realizing that I was way more interested in politics as it pertains to my life, and not actually studying political science. I've played around on computers for my entire life, and I really enjoy gadgets, gizmos, and devices of all kinds. I was also interested in managing things: schedules, tasks, people, you name it. I wasn't so sure about computer science, so I asked around and landed in the Integrated Information Technology program. I've been happy ever since! Oh- and I'm graduating next month (early, not late - phewww)!
The process of changing majors is different for everyone. I'm not promising that it will be easy, but I do want to share as much information as I possibly can in order to help you streamline the process and make a good decision.
That gut feeling you have about changing your major isn't uncommon. How can we honestly expect our 18 year old selves to decide what it is that we want to do for the rest of our adult lives? It's not feasible. And to top it off, high school guidance counselors seem more concerned with getting you to a good school than getting you into the right career field for you.
Don't compare your journey to anyone else's.
In choosing a new major or adding another field of study, consider these things:
- Screw career inventories and how anyone says you should spend your days for the next forty-something years. You know yourself better than anyone else. If online quizzes or outside actors are your primary influence for changing your major, then hold that thought.
- It's OK to change your major for the sake of job security or a higher salary. After the recession hit, our parents (and us) became a little more concerned with us pursuing a career path with job security. If you're looking to get into a field that provides that, make sure it's something you at least see yourself being good at, and hold on to your passions. You can incorporate them later, trust me.
- If you're switching majors to something you're more interested in, then follow your heart. After all, you'll probably pay more attention in class, thus resulting in better grades (and better chances of employment)! See what I did there?
- The earlier the better. Don't waste precious semesters or scholarship money studying something you don't want to study. Don't put this off for fear of throwing off your education - now is the time!
- Your major doesn't always dictate what you will go on to do. In choosing a major, make sure the courses will provide you with an abundance of knowledge to prepare you for internships and jobs while encouraging you to explore more on your own.
- Holler! Call the department that you're looking to switch into. We overlook this, thinking they won't have much advice to give, but they do! I called multiple departments in my search for the perfect major, and the recruitment counselors were transparent and honest about what the programs entailed.
Best of luck!