What to Do if You Realize You Picked the Wrong Major
Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions in our lives. However, it’s hard to make one so early in your life, especially when you don’t have any work experience and just don’t know what you are good at.
It’s not surprising that a lot of students pick a major just because they have to and not because they realize their abilities and aspirations. If you think that you have chosen the wrong path, don’t be scared – there are a lot of people who made a mistake too and regret their major choice (check what other common college regrets there are). If you want to fix the problem, read this article.
How to Tell if You Should Change Your Major
When you have just finished high school and started college, it’s hard to tell if you are on the right track. Everything is new and different from your previous experiences, so you can’t tell if everything is going as it should. Some students prefer starting at a community college and giving themselves around two years to think about their options. However, even such a move doesn’t save students from making the wrong choices – as a study tells us, around 70% of students change their majors at least once.
So, if you are not sure whether you should change your major, here are the signs that you have picked the wrong path:
- You picked the major because you were given such advice (or were told to). Choosing the major that somebody else wanted for you is not a rare case. Often parents are to blame for the wrong choice. If you were told by your parents what career to choose, the chances are high that you hate it. You will doubtfully succeed in something that you hate – this is just the truth of life. So, if you change your life for the better by following your true passion, you will become a much happier person. At their core, this is what your parents want you to be.
- You don’t care about your grades. Getting low grades is bad enough. But getting them without caring is even worse, as it is a surefire sign of being on the wrong path. If you don’t care now, you probably won’t care in the future, which will result in poor work quality. However, if making changes for the better, you can become a great specialist in a niche that you really love.
- You would prefer to be anywhere but in class. Okay, there are a lot of students who are just not into studying. However, when you really can’t find anything good about your studies at all, it might point to you picking the wrong direction.
So, how do you fix it?
1. Focus on What You Want (and Need)
Once you realize that your major is not heading toward the career of your dreams, the first thing that you should do is to decide what career you would like better. Ask yourself a question: “If I could do anything in the world, what would it be?” Think about your hobbies and passions, but don’t forget about the competition in the niche and conduct a little research on whether there are enough job postings.
A lot of professions tend to disappear with time, but there are also a lot of new professions that pop up with the development of technological progress (some of them you can get even without an academic degree). For example, who in the 90s would think that posting on social media would become a real job – social media marketing specialist? But this is our reality, and this is what you have to understand – being flexible and adjustable is much more important than picking a profession for life.
So, being passionate about your major choice is important, but being pragmatic is too. Considering the average wage and analyzing the job market demand helps in order to make the right choice.
When picking a major, you will find the following resources useful:
- College Majors 101: provides major insights such as schools, curriculum, employers, etc.
- Bachelor’s Portal: a service for searching online and on-campus programs worldwide
- Career Tests: a list of the best career tests that will help you understand your options and your skills better
Eventually, you can give yourself some time to think and take a semester or a year off. It’s not a rare case among students, especially when they want to get a job to make some money and pay for their education. Though getting a job without experience and a degree isn’t the easiest thing, it’s not impossible. You might also find our list of side hustles useful as it is full of ideas on how to make some extra money.
2. Talk to Your Academic Advisor
If you have decided that you want to change your major and thought about your options, it’s time to speak to your academic advisor. Advisors are there for a reason. They are one of the first people you should talk to when considering changing your major.
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First of all, they will let you know what requirements you need to meet and what paperwork to prepare. They will also consult you on various majors and might help you to make the right choice as they have vast experience in the education field. The main reason why you should speak to your advisor is the coursework audit that they perform in order to find out if it fits the major of your choice.
The academic advisor will also assist you in the process of changing your major or transferring to another college. You might also have an opportunity to minor in the originally declared major if you have completed your coursework. So, be sure to arrange an appointment and talk to your advisor about your future and your plans.
3. Submit the Major Changing Form
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Many colleges offer an easy major change. The process involves submitting a form, often within a fixed period of time (usually through the first weeks of the semester), and waiting for the confirmation. If a student applies for major change later through the semester, the changes might not be applied until the following semester.
If You Want to Transfer Colleges
If you want to change a lot more than your major, for example, to transfer colleges, you should be ready for a much longer and more difficult process. For example, in most colleges, the process of applying as a transfer student doesn’t differ much from the process of applying as a first-year student.
You will have to meet all the requirements including your Transfer Credit (the process that determines how much credit applies to your degree plan if any), get a Letter of Recommendation from your professors, and prepare a Transfer Application Essay.
Always conduct in-depth research of the college of your choice. There might be a chance that transferring won’t be worth the time and effort you spend on it.