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How Do You Know if It's Time to Change Majors?

Many college students end up changing their major at least once before graduation. Declaring a new major can come with downsides, though, so it's important to give it thoughtful consideration before proceeding. Learn 10 questions to consider while weighing a change in major.

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1. Are you enjoying the coursework in your major?

Even if you were unequivocal when you declared a major, your feelings might have changed. Trying to push yourself through another year or two of classes you don't enjoy isn't a recipe for success. Maybe you're still getting good grades, but if you've lost the passion you once had for your major, it could be time for a change.

2. Does your major support your current academic goals?

You may have been influenced by friends or family members to choose your current major, which forced you to put individual goals and desires on the backburner. Maybe you have another major in the back of your mind but you haven't made the switch just yet. Ultimately, you want to be certain your major is supporting your desired academic outcomes.

3. Does your major support your current career goals?

A lot of students enter college without a clear idea of what they want to do after school. This period of uncertainty can persist, even up until the time that a major must be declared. If you made your choice of major before you were clear on professional goals, you might need to now pursue a different degree program.

4. Is coursework too difficult?

Medicine, law and engineering are only a few disciplines that feature very challenging classes. If you're getting poor grades in major courses - or prereqs for major classes - it may be time to reconsider your area of study. Having difficulty in lower-level courses is a warning that you might continue to struggle.

5. Is now the right time?

If you are a freshman or sophomore, now may be a good time to change majors. However, you may want to stick to your current major if you're a junior or senior and have already taken many required courses.

6. Will a change in major mean more time in school?

There's a good chance changing your major will postpone your graduation date. Juniors and seniors are more likely than underclassmen to experience negative fallout from a change in major, since they've likely taken more classes in a major and invested more time in it. Keep in mind that in addition to a later graduation date, extending your college career will also cost more money, which could become a financial burden.

7. Is changing your major worth any financial impact?

Expenses for additional college credits, room, board, and other needs can add up quickly if you need to spend more time in school. There are other factors to think about, too. Perhaps you received scholarships or grants tied to study in a specific discipline. Know how much changing your major will cost before proceeding.

8. Would a change in major mean attending a new institution?

It's possible that your new major may not be offered at your current college, which will force you to transfer elsewhere. Think about whether or not you'll need to relocate, and take into consideration any commuting time to and from a potential new school.

9. Do you feel confident in your professional prospects?

Research what jobs are available for the new major you have in mind. Study the job trends and find out the employability rate after graduation. Learn what positions are available in the field of your choice and whether or not those positions are available in your current state of residence. You may need to consider relocating after graduation in order to land a good job relevant to your major.

10. Do you feel prepared to make a change?

Perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine the negative and positive aspects of changing your major. Seek guidance from an academic advisor, friends, and family members in order to gain different perspectives on this important decision.

Learn how college majors are covered in the news media and whether you should believe the hype.

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