According to a recent poll by the National Center for Education Statistics, around 80% of college students report that they have switched majors at least once throughout their college career. Often, the number is three. So with the odds highly likely that you’re going to switch your major, what are the things you should look out for before making the switch? Well, that’s what I’m going to tell you with regards to switching majors at UMD.
1. Understand it may delay graduation
Because you’re switching into another major, you might have to start again from the beginning classes if you switch into a major that is unrelated to your last one. Depending on how far you’ve gotten into your current major and how many credits you have, this may delay your graduation by a few semesters.
2. Ask yourself why you want to switch
Is the course load of your current major too demanding? Do you find yourself uninterested in the material? Perhaps the job prospects just went down? Maybe it’s a good time to switch then.
3. Did you ask your parents?
Asking your parents when you’re going to switch majors is very important, especially when they are the ones paying the tuition. Do they agree with your choice? Maybe they can help you find a better major.
4. Talk to the current major’s department
If you just decide one day you’re going to switch into Environmental Science because you hate Engineering, that’s not a good plan. You should at least talk to the Engineering Department before you switch. Maybe they can find something more interesting for you so that you won’t have to leave the engineering department. Maybe you’ll focus on environmental engineering instead!
5. Talk to the major department you’re switching into
If you are hell bent on switching out, you should at least talk to an advisor from the department you’re switching into. Don’t just be like, “I’m gonna declare!” and have no idea what you are getting yourself into.
6. Figure out what classes you’re going to take in your new major
Many majors now require a four year plan to be completed before you officially become part of the major. This is to ensure you have a plan for the future. Whenever those plans change, you are required to go meet with an advisor to come up with a new plan. And it makes a lot of sense. If you don’t know what you’re going to do in the future, how are you going to have any idea what to do now?
7. Make sure your friends know
They are there to support you. Don’t hide the fact that you’ve switched majors from them. They’ll be happy to know you’ve switched into something you enjoy doing.
8. Make sure you switch into something you want to do
There are stories of freshman who switch into a new major immediately after entering college because their major is not what they thought it would be. They just picked a major at random and said, “Any major is better than the trash I’m in now.” Bad move. In fact, it’s a pretty stupid move. You want to get into something you enjoy doing. Not something you picked because it looked like it would be easy.
9. Watch out for LEPs
If you get into a Limited Enrollment Program (LEP), watch out. If you switch out of the LEP into something else, you’re not getting back in. LEPs are just what they sound like. They only allow a certain number of people into the program. You have to be exceptionally good to be accepted into the program in the first place. If you leave, they’ll just give your seat to someone else.
10. Don’t do it because everyone else is
Don’t switch because everyone else seems to be doing it. Would you jump off a bridge if other people are doing so? Of course not! If you’re happy in your current major, don’t leave. If you aren’t happy, then leave. But don’t leave CS when your lifelong dream is to be an ethical hacker just because your other friends say CS is too difficult.
This post should help you make an educated decision on whether you want to switch. It’s likely you are going to switch. But do you have the knowledge needed to make that decision today? Well hopefully, now you do!