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  • Beverly Brutzkus

Undecided?

By: Beverly Brutzkus – Conejo College Consulting

Are you uncertain of what major to select on your college applications? Maybe you enjoy STEM subjects but don’t know “the one.” Or do you think you know what you want to study, but are you concerned you might want to change your major after you enroll? You are not alone!

According to a US Department of Education report, about one-third of students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs changed majors within three years of enrollment. Several colleges report up to 50 to 75% of all undergraduate students change majors at least one time before earning a degree, although the exact rate at which students changed their majors varies depending on the original field of study.


So there is no need to panic if you are a student who needs time to explore possible majors, or if you are “multi-interested”? For example, maybe you enjoy studying physics and reading about history? Or you dream about creating graphic designs and learning foreign languages? Or are you an entrepreneur but you are interested in rock formations? Then look for colleges that allow you to explore your interests and develop new skills before fully immersing yourself in a specific major.

You will want to look at universities and colleges that provide:

o Exploratory track (often within a specific area such as business or engineering)

o A flexible major declaration timeline o A more flexible or “open” curriculum, or “interdisciplinary” majors o Opportunities to create your own major o Multiple majors that may interest you o Mentorship programs for undecided majors o Academic advisors who work with undecided students towards any major o Extracurricular activities, service-learning projects or study abroad programs

Examples of universities that offer support for undecided students, or for students in exploratory tracks, include: Brown University, Oregon State University, University of Rochester, Northeastern University, University of California Davis, University of Southern Florida, and University of Colorado Boulder.

Similar support can also be found at some liberal arts colleges, especially at colleges like Amherst College that are part of consortiums where students can take courses or use resources at other local colleges.

So, if you are undecided, don’t just pick a random major on your college application! Instead, find a college that will allow you to explore! Be honest (to yourself and the admissions officers) and show that you are curious and want to explore a variety of interests. Who knows, maybe your future major doesn't even exist yet or maybe YOU will create it!

Need examples of specific schools that offer support to undecided or multi-interested students? Contact me for a full list!

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