Changing Majors: What College Students Should Know When Exploring a Different Career Path
There comes a time when nearly every student wonders, “Am I on the right career path?” If you are pondering the idea that you may not be in the right line of study, or if you’ve already made up your mind that you need a change, then you have come to the right place.
Wondering how to change college majors? Below, we have compiled a list of steps to take when considering changing college majors.
1. Ask the Right Questions
Before you change college majors, ask yourself the following questions:
- “Do my current classes excite me and appeal to my career goals?”
- “Is there another major/minor that interests me more than my current major/minor?”
- “Have my career goals changed since I chose my current major?”
Answering “yes” to these questions indicates that you might be ready to make the switch. Next, ask yourself, “What is my ultimate career goal?” Proceed with changing your major with this goal in mind.
2. Research the Job Market
When choosing a new career path, it is common to research: job opportunities in your area, the employment outlook for your new industry, and average salaries for employees with your degree. However, it is most important to consider your personal interest in the subject, for it will grow increasingly difficult to pursue a degree in a field you have no motivation to learn about. Perhaps that is why you are reading this article today.
3. Talk to your Academic Advisor
A great resource for college students is your academic advisor. It is their job to provide career advice for college students and walk them through situations just like this. Whether you are sure about your switch or still on the fence, make an appointment to discuss the idea with your advisor. Learn how your university can make the switch easier for you.
4. Prepare for a Loss or Change of Credits
Each major has different credit and coursework requirements that a student must complete before earning their degree. A change in major may add credit hours to your list before graduation, which can get expensive quickly.
If you are still within your first 60 credits and have not made the switch, we recommend you decide soon. On the other hand, if you are further into your current degree and suddenly find yourself ready for a change, don’t feel discouraged – there are millions of students in your place and we are here to tell you it is still possible to make a switch.
Regardless of how many credits you have under your belt, take a look at your coursework records and new major requirements side-by-side and see which completed classes you can apply to your new list.
And, before you make any hasty decisions, look through the classes required for your prospective major. Take some time and ask yourself if you would be interested in diving into each class’s subject matter. If you find yourself answering “no” to the majority, browse through more options until you find a good match.
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5. Complete Required University Paperwork
The last thing any student looking to switch majors should know: There will be paperwork. Depending on your university, your request to change majors may need approval from the department chair and dean of your new major. Refer to your academic advisor for the specifics of your school’s process.
At the end of the day, it is your degree and your timeline. Any changes are justified by the simple fact that you are ready to walk a new path. Don’t forget, it is encouraged that every student acquires some experience in their desired field. Keep in mind you are not limited to a career in your major field; it is not an oath or contract. With that said, it can be daunting to face a dramatic life change, so take a deep breath, grab a friend to discuss it with, and trust your instincts. It is all going to work out.
To start your search for the right career path, browse iHire’s directory of industry-focused talent communities. Or, take a free online career assessment.
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