How to Know if You Should Switch Majors in College
Whether or not to switch majors is one of the most stressful decisions college students make. Here are some good indicators that you’ve gotten on the wrong track and could benefit from a change.
1. You’re bored.
Every college student experiences some degree of boredom in school. After all, we’re only human and not every subject or professor is interesting to everyone. At the very least, most of your major classes should be engaging some of the time. Your research projects, papers, or reading assignments should feel like opportunities to learn new things about your chosen field of study. If you could care less about your next hypothesis or thesis statement, and doing your homework feels like going through the motions, it’s probably a good sign you should switch majors to a subject you find more appealing.
2. You have no interest in talking about your major.
While you’re probably not going to pour your heart out to Aunt Agnes at the family reunion when she asks about school, you should enjoy discussing your major field of study on at least a basic level. If you’re a psychology major, you should be able to snicker at the Freud joke someone tells at a party. If you’re an economics major, you should enjoy debating how best to bolster the American economy during the current recession. If the thought of discussing something related to your major makes you want to jab a pen in your ear, it’s a good sign you should either become a hermit or switch majors. Many colleges are now offering courses and degree programs completely online. View a complete list of online colleges.
3. You’re not doing well in your major classes.
Most college students have failed an exam or had to drop a difficult class. If you find yourself struggling in all your major classes though, take it as a warning sign. You may have chosen a subject you’re not particularly well-suited for. Also, failing classes in your major may indicate a lack of interest you’re trying not to admit. Try taking an upper-level class or two in a different major. If you have more academic success in a different subject, it’s time to switch.
4. You can’t picture yourself working in your field of study.
When you’re young, sometimes the future looks like nothing more than a big, empty slate. That’s not a bad thing. But if you try and simply can’t imagine yourself in the role of teacher, statistician, electrical engineer, or whatever career your major is preparing you to do, you should seriously consider switching majors. Why spend your entire college career focused on something you would never do in the real world? Instead, use your education to work toward going into a profession you might actually take up after graduation.
5. You spend more time on another class or a hobby.
Believe it or not, choosing other activities over your major is a good thing. In fact, it’s an excellent sign you already have an idea of what you really want to do. If you secretly love reading the World War II narratives your favorite professor recommends, you might be a history major in the making. If you consistently blow off assignments to make model airplanes, you might be a future engineer. You just have to find a way to turn your passion into a viable major and make the change.
On the other hand, if you’re experiencing any of the following situations, it’s probably not the right time to switch majors. There may be an underlying problem causing your unhappiness or lack of success in college.
1. You are bored or doing poorly in ALL your classes.
Do you have trouble paying attention or sitting still in class? Do you find yourself unable to complete any homework assignments? Are you failing exams for reasons you don’t understand? The issue might not be your major, but something much deeper. You may be experiencing anything from depression, test anxiety, or attention deficit disorder. Before switching majors, pay a visit to a counselor at your college to help you determine the cause of your academic problems.
2. You’re still taking general requirements.
Unless you’re attending a career college, the path to a degree is filled with liberal arts classes. For bright young college students, this can be a source of frustration. Sometimes those general requirements can feel like a rehash of material covered in high school, and other times those classes won’t have anything to do with your chosen field of study. Before you switch majors, take a few upper-level classes in your chosen field of study to see if that makes college more interesting for you.
3. You can’t imagine yourself in ANY career.
It’s perfectly normal to be unclear or undecided about what you want to do with the rest of your life. But if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything, it might be a lack of experience in the workplace or because you’re just not sure what you like or what you’re good at yet. A counselor at your college can give you a career aptitude test to assess what range of careers you might excel at. A counselor can also help you arrange to shadow a professional in the workplace or even an internship to test drive a potential career option before you commit to a major.