it's ok to be undeclared
Posted : May 3, 2005
Last Updated : April 20, 2015
If you don't know what you want to major in, you are not alone. Many college freshmen and sophomores haven't picked a major yet. And guess what? That's ok. Being undeclared gives you the opportunity to explore different topics, ideas, and professions. It allows you time to research majors and then pick the one that is right for you. If you are undeclared, don't rush your decision on picking a major. Instead, use this opportunity to complete the following tasks.
Fill your general education requirements. Since you are undeclared, you can get all your general requirements out of the way during your first and/or second year of college. The general education requirements describe the core courses all students must take in order to graduate. Usually, students can choose from a wide array of courses in communication, quantitative reasoning, natural science, humanities/literature/arts, social studies, and ethnic studies. Some of these courses can also count toward degree requirements. Requirements will vary from college to college. Taking your general education requirements while you are undeclared will allow you to completely focus on your major requirements once you have picked a major.
Choose your general elective classes wisely. At most colleges, you have to take a certain amount of general electives in order to graduate. Use this opportunity to explore fields that you find interesting while still getting credit toward your degree. If you are interested in music, research music classes that you could take. Considering a career in business? Take a business class as an elective. Taking classes about subjects that you find interesting will help you decide whether or not you want to pursue a career in that particular field.
Visit the Career Services Center at your college. The Career Services Center is an ideal place for undeclared students to visit. The center offers testing to help you evaluate your personal traits, and thus get you on the path to declare a major. Many colleges offer tests such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strong Interest Inventory (SII), Self-Directed Search (SDS), and Career Exploration Inventory (CEI). These tests will assess your skills, values, interests, and personality, and the results will give you an idea of what field/jobs will best fit you. Be sure to visit the career center at your school and try to take one or more of these tests.
Get hands-on experience. Getting hands-on experience in different areas will help you figure out what career you want to pursue. Try to get a job on campus to help you explore different fields. Work-study jobs are available to students with financial need. Campus jobs can include working in administrative offices, libraries, campus TV/radio studios, etc. Also, look into getting a job or internship off campus. Many businesses love to hire college students. Volunteering will also allow you to explore new fields and potential careers.
While you may think you need to rush to declare a major, it is actually better to take your time and explore different possibilities. If you perform the above-mentioned tasks, you should be ready to declare a major by the middle or end of your sophomore year. Good luck with your pursuit!