Can I Switch College Majors? Should I?

Picking a major is a, well, major part of the college process. A lot of effort can go into searching for schools that have a reputable program for your desired major. College majors can be broad or niche, common or unique. And since majors largely determine what sort of classes you’ll take or specialize in, they can have a major impact on your future career.

A green arrow pointing left above a red arrow pointing right, both say "choice."

Should you change your college major?

With so much riding on the major, it’s understandable that some students are a little hesitant to firmly declare their intended major–even before attending that school. A whole bunch of questions might pop up before really nailing it down. What if I don’t like it? What if I want to study something else or it was not what I expected?

Never fear–you can change majors if you really need to! In fact, many students switch their majors during their college years. Not just “many” but a majority–a whopping 80% of college students will change their majors at least once. So you will definitely not be alone if you want to change it up.

Why do people switch their college majors?

There are many reasons a student might want to change their college major. Perhaps their interests changed when they took a class they really enjoyed and want to pursue a new field of study. Maybe they want to move from a general major, like Engineering, to a specific one, like Electrical Engineering.

Or maybe their current major is not entirely what they expected it to be. It’s easy to go into college with preconceptions, or even misconceptions, about what you’re in for. If that’s the case, the student might want to switch majors or find a program more suited to their interests.

What if you’re interested in multiple majors?

If a student is interested in multiple fields of study–related or unrelated–or wants a supplementary program to bolster their major, they might choose to either double major or minor in something. A double major is, as its name implies, majoring in two programs. A college minor is slightly different and has fewer requirements to complete, and is often used to enhance their major or fiend a specialized field–or if they wanted to study something unrelated to their main major–someone could major in business administration and minor in theater, something they are very passionate about.

There are downsides.

However, there are some drawbacks to switching majors. Different majors have different requirements, and so the student might have to start over if some of their completed courses don’t overlap with their new major–this can lead to an extended stay at college and a late graduation, which can weigh heavily on a wallet.

Switching majors might also mean switching major departments, and so a student could be assigned to a new academic advisor. Students should get to know their academic advisors well and explore courses and potential career options with them thoroughly. So when you switch majors and advisors, you might have to start getting to know an entirely different person–though it’s worth it, as they are like guides during your college career.

So is it worth switching majors? Well, it entirely depends on your individual situation. Switching majors might be the right move into a new field of study, or it might set you back a few semesters. Talk through the idea with your academic advisor before making any permanent decisions, and make sure you weigh all the pros and cons.

Want to see which colleges around the country specialize in your intended major? Use College Raptor’s free match tool to discover the schools right for you today!