If a student is relatively certain about what he/she wants to study, then it can make sense to indicate a prospective major when applying to college. Many students, however, are not at all decided about what they want to study, and many who thought they were decided change their minds once they get to college – sometimes more than once. If an applicant doesn’t have a strong idea of a prospective major, it’s perfectly all right to indicate “Undecided”. A fairly large percentage of students apply in that category each year, and schools are quite used to seeing that designation. There are many directions of study and careers that a student may never have considered or even heard of before, so a whole new world of possibilities will open up.
Based upon my experience, it is okay to be undecided when applying to an undergraduate program. Many colleges have great counseling services that will assist undecided students with choosing an appropriate major. If you apply with a prospective major, you may have a slight advantage. Students with a major, can apply for scholarships that are related to their major. These students have an easier time developing social relationships – since they can start with their peers who share their major.
It’s OK to be undecided. If you are undecided, you will want to explore different possible majors in your freshman and sophomore years, talk with your advisor, professors and the career office about different possibilities. You may want to take a personality profile to see which careers fit your personality and see what majors would support those careers.
Stating that you are “undecided” on your application really doesn’t hurt your chances. Interestingly, in some case stating a prospective major can actually hinder your chances. This is typically the case with very specific, specialized majors.
The reality of college is that most students change their majors a couple times before finally graduating. This should tell you that no matter what boxes were checked on applications, most students were undecided. However, you will need to give each college an idea of what you will study, so they can ensure you will have a place in that program. Are you leaning towards science, liberal arts, engineering, fine arts, etc? At most colleges, you will be able to change majors with little trouble, but there are some universities and some programs that make change a challenge. If you are undecided, make sure your college list contains schools that will encourage you to explore different options and help you declare the right major once you have decided.
I think it is okay to be undecided. Many students who are applying to colleges go in undeclared. There are several reasons to be an undeclared major. First, you are being true to yourself. You are in touch with the fact that you don’t know 100% exactly what you want to study. Secondly, you are opening yourself up to many educational options. You can take classes in many different subject matters to see what interests you. Finally, you generally don’t have to declare a major until sophomore year, so it gives you the opportunity to explore and then declare a major. Unless you are applying to a specific pre-professional program, like nursing, or you know that you want to apply to an engineering school, I don’t believe that knowing your major beforehand gives you a distinct advantage in the admissions process.
Yes, it is okay to be undecided, for the most part, colleges and universities don’t require their students to declare their major until the end of their second year (before applying, make sure to double check with each college to find out their graduation requirements and how easy it is to switch majors). Also, the average college student changes their major at least four times so it is better for students to take different classes earlier in their college career to help them figure out their major.
Each school has a different viewpoint on going in with an undecided major or sticking with one subject and not changing. In California for example, the public universities mostly frown upon not choosing a major and some down right say, no specific major, no acceptance such as Cal State San Luis Obispo. However, after speaking with many admissions representatives from other states, there are several universities that openly accept “undecided” and aid the student with a freshman seminar of sorts to provide guidance of the different programs available at their campus. They would typically encourage you to declare a major at the end of your first semester.
It is absolutely okay to apply to a college without a specific major in mind. Many students have no idea what they want to major in when they first come to college, and many of those students who have selected a major change their minds at least once during their years at school.
It is OK to be undecided. Indeed, years of experience have taught college educators that a student’s interests can change greatly once they have the opportunity to explore new areas, or even get into a previously expressed interest at a higher level. College is a time of growth and greater self-awareness and inevitably that leads to some changes in one’s intended direction. Of course, it does matter if you are applying to a specific school within a university, like the engineering or education, where you will be getting specific training that is different, but otherwise it does not really matter, and the fact that the school is asking is aimed more at getting another sense of you and your interests as well as a sense of what areas may be drawing student to their school. In the end, if you do know, fine, but if not don’t sweat, most of the admissions people probably changed too.
For United States universities, knowing your major usually does not occur until your junior year. However in foreign universities, one usually begins their specialized field of study as a freshman.
Totally okay to be undecided, as most students are, but if you have an idea of a few subjects you are interested in, it’s a good idea to write them all down. There’s a difference between being totally undecided and knowing you want to study something in engineering but not exactly what. This way, the school knows more or less where you will fall if admitted in terms of general department, but knows that you need some wiggle room to figure out where your true passion lies.
While it’s okay to enter a university as undeclared many competitive institutions are stressing a student’s ability to graduate within 4 years. Given that some majors like science, medicine and engineering require many foundation courses during Freshman year it is good to have a realistic idea about what you intend to study before you apply. It is well worth your time to work with a certified college counselor who can help you identify your strengths and aptitudes so that you choose the right major and begin to prepare for it early. Having the right foundation will make you more competitive to not only the University of your choice but the actual department you will graduate from.
This is my rule of thumb: There’s a significant difference between being interested in an array of different things (on one hand) and being disengaged/confused (on the other). The former is usually fine; the latter is never fine. For disengaged/confused students, do everyone a favor: go to a community college.
Having a focus to your college search based on your interests does help to winnow through those more than 2,000 colleges and universities. If you are interested in studying engineering, it is necessary to choose the type of engineering school and to apply directly into the School of Engineering since it is extremely difficult to transfer into engineering programs. However, most college students will change their major not once but several times during the course of their studies and admissions officers, of course, realize that this is quite usual. If you do not know what you want to study yet, do not despair — it is okay to be undecided.
It’s ok to be undecided about your major. The first 3 or 4 semesters of college is a great time to figure out what you actually want to do. Some students are not sure about what they like until they get into a class.
It is okay to be whatever you are! Roughly 50% of students change their major at some point during their college years. My roommate and I were among the 50% who changed at least once, although I did have some friends who switched as many as three times. Truth is, many of us are probably undecided about a college major and it is okay to acknowledge that, embrace that, and get excited to explore in college. From my experience as an admission counselor, we didn’t negatively regard undecided students as unworthy for admission. In fact, a student who was undecided often was looked at a bit more leniently (again, just from my experience). If a student noted that they were “pre-med,” we were looking for a certain number of years of math and science; however, if you marked “undecided,” we would not look for such academic units. In such a case, we would focus more holistically on the GPA and the application portfolio.
College is about learning who you are and whom you want to become. You may enter thinking you want to be a chemist and leave with a teaching degree. It’s ok to be unsure! Do the research take courses and explore. Now I’m not recommending two or three years later still being confused, but many freshmen enter college undecided! Even the most planned out, organized person could have second thoughts!
It depends on the school. Some schools require that you determine your major in advance upon applying, while other schools (the majority, in fact) give you until the end of your sophomore year to declare a major. For many schools, though, you will apply to a specific school in which many different majors our housed (e.g., School of Arts & Sciences).
Whether your classmates in high school will admit it or not, the #1 major for any incoming college freshman in the United States is undecided. (That kid next to you in Algebra who swears that he’s going to be a cardiologist after college? He might go into medicine – or he might emerge from his undergraduate program as a professional jazz musician. Trust me – one of my college classmates did just such a 180 turn!)
It’s OK to not have your entire life planned out at the age of 17. Because of the current economic situation, many parents are now looking to have their kids have an exact career path mapped out when they graduate high school. In many ways, it’s unrealistic. At 17, students have not experienced enough to have everything figured out. So, go ahead and check undecided as your potential major. It’s OK. Colleges will not penalize you for it.
It does not put students at an advantage or disadvantage to indicate a major on their applications. The only exception concerns programs at universities specifically geared toward an area of study. Colleges ask students to declare a major mostly just so they can forward the names of students interested in a particular major to the specific department so the department can then send information to students. Students should feel free to indicate whatever major they prefer – or none at all – on their application. It certainly offers no advantage or disadvantage; after all, students could list any major they want on their applications and it would not stop them from changing their specialty area upon entering the college. Most colleges ask students to declare a major by the spring of their sophomore year.
It is always ok to be undecided, unless you are applying to a college that requires that you choose your major from the get-go.
Undecided is OK at most schools, but verify that with an admissions officer.
you can not apply engineering major with undecided application for admissions.
it is the worst way of showing your determination about what you are going to do in college and it is reasonable to believe that you may not find the best major at my college.
Don’t worry about going in undecided as many high school students are doing the same thing. However, make sure you do your research on the particular university and aware of transfer issues. If you want to join a competitive program, from film to engineering, the university may have impacted courses, that will make it harder to declare later on. A good option for the undecided is a Liberal Arts school with emphasis in broadly defined concentrations. This way, you will not have to commit until later on and you can remain free from the pressure to declare.
Not many high school students know what they’ll major in at college — especially since they haven’t been to college yet!
Honestly, even if you declare a major, the chances of you changing your degree interest before you graduate is good. So if you want to begin undecided, that’s just fine. The advantage to being open minded about a major is the opportunity to explore areas you might otherwise not make time for. In addition, you may discover a subject that you’d never heard about and fall in love with. Keep in mind that certain majors will require you to apply directly to their program from day one because there is the matter of course sequencing. Other programs will have limits on the number of students they can enroll, so take that under consideration as well.
It is okay to be undecided, but not to be unthoughtful or non-reflective about the possibilities. Sometimes being “undecided” is actually better than indicating an interest in an oversubscribed major. Likewise, indicating an interest in an under-subscribed major (like classics) can be a positive.
The college years are a time to explore your interests and discovery what you’re passionate about. Most schools encourage students to take courses in a wide variety of subjects before declaring a major (usually by junior year). Some even allow you to create your own major and/or take courses free of any prescribed requirements at all. In other words, being “undecided” is just fine.
Applying undecided is perfectly fine. Actually the majority of students change their major at least once, so it may even be the smart thing to do. There are some programs (nursing, business, physical therapy) that are very competitive, and if you really don’t know yet what you want to do, going in undecided is probably the right thing to do.
Depends on where you are applying. Liberal arts colleges do not require students to select a major until the end of sophomore year and actively encourage students to explore different majors before deciding. If you are applying to engineering school, presumable you have decided to study engineering and may even have picked a focus within engineering such as chemical or mechanical.
The question remaining undecided about a major sometimes comes up with my students. I know when I interview for Brown and the information says the student is undecided, I do my best to get to know that student and find out what his or her preferences are. So few students at the age of 17 or 18 really know their future direction, and so many students change their minds during college. Admissions officers realize this, and they assess candidates on many factors other than prospective major. Sometimes, students answer the major question without the utmost of sincerity; for example, they think it “looks better” to have a particular major. That’s why colleges look at the entire candidate package.
Not knowing what you want to major in cannot hurt your application. In fact, at UChicago, we want our first-year students to arrive with a healthy intellectual curiosity, and to explore a wide variety of academic fields in our Core curriculum.
A very high percentage of college students change their majors, so there is not a high expectation that all applicants will know what they want to major in. What is more important is conveying your curiosity and enthusiasm for one or more of the academic programs available at the schools to which you are applying. Evidence of thoughtful curiosity and real enthusiasm for learning will lead to a clear academic focus during college, so those attributes are more important than a clear direction. If you know what you want to do, that’s great, but if you don’t, but have curiosity and enthusiasm for one or more academic subjects, just be sure to convey those attributes in your interview, essays, etc.
Applying undecided will not hurt your chances for admission. College is different than high school. There are many more areas to explore. So, if you don’t know what you want to study, don’t panic. I am reminded of a young woman who wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in. As a freshman she opted for an economics course, a subject she knew little about, because she was tired of hearing her father say “take something useful!” She graduated majoring in economics. My advice – don’t rule anything out and don’t rush into a decision. Enjoy the journey!
“Undecided” is the most popular major among incoming college freshmen, but if you think you are beginning to focus on a specific major, it’s fine to state it. When I taught in college and advised students, I was very impressed with how often students switched majors before settling on one at the end of sophomore year. That so many disciplines were so interesting to them was testimony that our college was doing a lot of things right – so long as we could help them settle on a major in time to complete it.
It is absolutely okay to be undecided! There are some colleges where this is more complicated than others. In small liberal arts schools this is almost expected. In contrast, in large universities it can be difficult to transfer into some majors if you are not accepted into them as a freshman. This is especially true in pre professional majors such as engineering and architecture.
Here is my video response to the question.
It’s perfectly OK to be undecided. Many (maybe even most) students enter U.S. colleges and universities not knowing what their major will be; and many of those who do enter with a declared major change their minds at least once before they graduate. That’s one of the reasons for the four-year bachelor degree, instead of the three year degree that’s offered in most other countries of the world – you have time to explore and develop your interests.
It is perfectly normal to enter college being undecided on a major.
It is definitely okay to be undecided
It’s perfectly acceptable to be undecided about a prospective major. You’re still in high school and have yet to explore much of what this world has to offer. Further, more than half of all college students change their major at least once. So, use your freshman (and possibly) sophomore year to sample coursework, delve into the academic and extracurricular life of a college, and discover what “makes you tick.” That being said, if you have a general academic interest and are applying to an institution where entry into a particular school (within the institution) is very difficult, you should consider indicating your expected plans. For example, if you’re an aspiring journalist applying to Syracuse, indicate Newhouse as your school of choice; if you are intrigued by the world of business and are applying to Penn, consider choosing Wharton.
It is ABSOLUTELY OK to be undecided! Unless you have a specific field of study that you are already passionate about, it’s actually better for you to be undecided until you take a few classes. The reason is this: for the most part, the first two years of college consist of the same classes for everyone. You have to have a certain number of biology, English, and math classes at a college level before you even start into your preferred subject. So, even if you go in undecided, you’re going to be taking the same classes as those who go in with a specific field in mind.
Very few students know what they want to study specifically when they enter college. However, many scholarships are related to specific majors of study. If you do have an interest in a particular major, explore classes in high school that might give you an idea of whether or not you truly do like them, such as: theater, music, architecture, or science.
Have a clear understanding of the school’s admission process and you can that by asking questions such as do you admit by department or are students admitted to the school first and then students can decide on a major? Each school has majors that are highly competitive to enter. For example, nursing is a competitive major and requires the student to declare during the application process. Another example, physical therapy. At some schools if you are not admitted to they might offer the student nursing or occupational therapy . Know upfront what the school’s admission process is and how they handle your intended major will be a big plus for you. There are, of course, many schools that will permit the student to be admitted undecided, but understand that they are majors that can not be entered after freshman year. Some examples, architecture,
computer engineering and physical therapy. Undecided is a good choice if you are really not sure and want to explore course work and make a decision after freshman year.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.
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