Avenues To Higher Education

Should You Declare a Major on Your College Application?

By Leticia Duenas on November 8, 2017

Declaring a major may be a daunting task or you might know exactly what you would like to study. Do not stress about the process. Below are a few tips to help you decide whether or not to declare a major and how to select it.

Your major vs. your career

Keep in mind that your major does not dictate what you will do for the rest of your life. Some studies show that only 27% of college graduates work in a field directly related to their degree. Some professions require a specific set of skills. However, to be successful in any career you need to develop soft skills. Critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration are some examples. Your major will be the context in which you learn and practice these skills. It will prepare you for your future careers.

Exploring disciplines

College is a period of time for you to explore different disciplines. Even if you declare a major early on, it is likely you will change majors at least once. That is common among all college students. The “core curriculum” courses at many liberal arts colleges will help you hone in on what you most enjoy. The core curriculum includes courses in a wide variety of disciplines. These courses establish a foundation to shape the rest of your academic experience.

What does this mean to you as you complete your college applications?

  • Maintain an open mind. You might have a general idea of what you would like to study or no idea at all. Wherever you are on this spectrum, it is important to maintain an open mind. Don’t discard a major because you are unfamiliar with the field. Do some research on the careers a major could lead to. Review the courses required for students in the major. Select a major which you think you will enjoy.
  • Branch off to other subjects. If your major is impacted, consider selecting a major in a related field. Impacted majors are those that have more demand than what the school can enroll.
  • Consider applying undeclared. It is okay to apply undeclared or undecided. This option may provide you with more flexibility. There are pros and cons to declaring a major from the get-go and applying undeclared. The following articles will provide you some guidance when making that determination.

Determine Whether to Declare a Major on College Applications  by Caroline Duda

Pros, Cons of Applying to College as an Undecided Major by Bradford Holmes