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Five Reasons It’s Okay to Be Undecided About Your Major

Posted by: Alex Davis, Adjunct, School of Business

Advising Director Alex Davis in Rotunda

So you’re exploring college destinations and you’re talking to friends and family about where you might go and what you might do. Let me guess, you’ve already been asked at least a dozen times “what is your major going to be?” And by the time you choose a college and get to campus in the fall that number will likely soar much higher.

It’s a totally normal question to ask. Your friends and family care about you and are interested in your plans. It is also totally normal to have no idea what you want to pursue as your major. In your college search you’ll hear this referred to as being “undecided” and being undecided is great! As the director of academic advising at Meredith College, I want to share with you some thoughts on why being undecided is not only okay, but can even be a benefit on your college journey.

You’re in good company.

It may seem like your friends know exactly what they want to do and what their major will be when they get to college. However, in 2018, the National Center of Education Statistics reported that more than one in three students changed their major at least once within three years of enrollment. Even though you’re an adult and off to college you’re still young. You will grow and change in the coming years in ways you probably haven’t imagined.

You can (and should) explore your academic options.

Most general education programs are designed to help you explore multiple academic areas. Use these early semesters in college and this array of topics to explore new areas and test some of your interests. Meet faculty and talk about the subjects you find interesting and possible careers. By staying open-minded, you might find your passion in something you never imagined.

Pressure’s off.

Without a major, there is less pressure to make something work that just doesn’t. As a successful student, when you put your mind to something you’re likely to work hard and stay after it. That’s a great quality to have but if you’re in the wrong major you can feel pressure to stick it out even when you do not enjoy that major as you thought you might. If you’re undecided you free yourself from that potential pressure.

You’ll be building important skills.

Employers are looking for certain skills, regardless of major. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified eight competencies that prepare college graduates for successful transition into the workplace such as critical thinking, leadership, global fluency, and more. These skills highlight the value of liberal arts education at Meredith. We refer to these as 21st century skills and you’ll gain them through interdisciplinary work in your general education requirements and again woven throughout whichever major you choose.

You will have lots of support to help you make your decision.

You’re not alone in the process of deciding on a major. Meredith offers many resources to help you along the way. The Office of Academic Advising, the Office of Career Planning, StrongPoints® staff, your faculty, and others are here to answer questions, work on resumes, find internships, and guide you towards a major that truly suits you.

The college search can be stressful. I hope these thoughts will take the stress of having to choose a major right away out of that process.

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