For incoming college freshmen, it’s the number one most frequently asked question: “What’s your major?” Choosing a major can be a Big Deal. It outlines what courses you’ll be taking, what professors you’ll have, what internships you’ll apply for, and how you approach your college experience as a whole.
But making a decision like that can often be overwhelming. What if you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life at eighteen years old? Around 70% of college students don’t, as they change their major at some point within their college career. But as for those who begin without any choice at all, there is the tough struggle of listing your major as “undeclared.” Not having a major is sort of like being undefined in college; name, hometown, and major are usually the ways in which you introduce yourself to others.
But aside from the lack of obvious label, being an undeclared major also can have a serious impact on the way your college education progresses. Although most colleges don’t require students to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year, a lot of students may have to stay longer than four years in order to complete all of the necessary courses to earn a degree. With the average price of college around $20,000 per academic year, staying in school for an extra year can cause a student to accrue serious debt.
There are also different alternatives for students to take and ways for students to prepare while still in high school. Many high schools offer programs where students can take classes for college credit, usually through a community or state college. Also, it may be a good idea to try and audit or enroll in some community college classes, giving the student an inexpensive opportunity to try out classes in different fields and see which one they like best. Of course, the most important thing is making sure each student finds a major that will put him or her on the best path possible.