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Deciding on your college major is a, well, major part of your higher education experience. It determines what you study, what your degree will be in, what future job prospects might open up to you. It can set you on your career path and introduce you to friends and networking contacts within the field.

Of course, you have to pick a major first. Not all students declare their major right away, and there are several reasons as to why. There are benefits and drawbacks to being undeclared. Let’s go over some of them.

Pros of Being an Undeclared Major

You’re undeclared because you’re undecided. Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do or study freshman year. Many students take a few general education classes to discover what they like and dislike about various fields. This can give them a better sense of what subjects they wish to pursue. Though it’s a good idea to go into college with some idea of what you’d like to do, it’s ok to wait a semester or two to find your specialization within a field. (Example: you’d like to study some sort of engineering, but through classes discover you want to study biochemical engineering.)

Build a stronger GPA. By waiting to dive into more intensive major-specific courses, you can build a stronger GPA base by taking general ed courses. Not to say that gen eds are easy, of course, but they do tend to cover broader topics and don’t have as many requirements as major classes.

Cons of Being an Undeclared Major

Searching for colleges is a bit harder. Many students start their college search by researching schools that excel in the major they’re interested in. If you haven’t selected a major yet, however, it’s a bit harder to find the ideal college for what you want to study.

Get started on major requirements later. While you do have two years to declare your major, sooner might be better than later. If you wait too long, you’ll have to cram in all your major-required classes and projects into a shorter time span. This can be both stressful and tedious, as you’ll likely have all your gen eds finished with few classes breaking up the concentrated subjects of your major.

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