Changing College Majors: When Is It Okay to Switch Things Up?

by Ashley Eneriz

Not loving your college major like you used to? Changing college majors can be common practice among university students, but the choice shouldn’t be made lightly. For instance, switching majors during your junior or senior year could cause you to lose hard-earned units and postpone your graduation date. Additionally, if a major change adds another semester (or two) to your degree plan, it can cost you more money.

If you’re thinking about switching majors, there are a number of things to consider before heading to the registrar.

Understanding Why You Want to Change Your Major

Prior to taking the plunge and changing college majors, take some time to understand your desire and examine the potential outcomes. It’s a good idea to ask yourself these four questions:

1. Am I feeling overwhelmed?
Take a look at your school schedule and workload, as well as the stressors in your personal life. Do you feel like your responsibilities are too much to handle? There will be seasons when there is too much on your plate, but changing your major isn’t always the best solution to this problem. Instead, you might need to reduce your class load, work hours, or personal duties. This also might be a good time to access some support resources on campus. Personal counseling and group workshops, such as the Stress Management Workshop offered at Azusa Pacific University, are available to students.

2. Are my classes too hard? Being challenged academically is an important part of preparing for your future career. If you feel like the course material is over your head, though, don’t assume that your major is not right for you. Instead, pursue tutoring or extra help from a campus writing center. Visit your professor during office hours to discuss the possibility of additional assistance and resources. Arrange study sessions with fellow classmates. And finally, talk with an academic advisor about the possibility of lightening your load so that you have more time to devote to challenging classes.

3. Do I feel unsure about my future?
Maybe you heard that your chosen profession doesn’t make enough money, or that it’s hard to break into your preferred industry. Perhaps loved ones have expressed concern or dissatisfaction over your major choice. If you are passionate about your focus of study, that is a good sign you’re taking the right set of classes. Your unique combination of passions and talents is not a coincidence, but a God-given gift to use after graduation. Talk candidly with a trusted faculty member in your field or find a professional mentor in your dream career; they will tell you about the struggles of the field, as well as what makes your chosen major worth the work.

4. Do I think a different major will be easier? It’s human nature to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. All college majors are academically challenging and time-consuming in their own ways. Remember that the goal of completing college isn’t just to be awarded a piece of paper. Earning a degree means graduating with better critical thinking skills, a deeper understanding of your field, and readiness to start your career.

So, When Is It Okay to Change My Major?

It is always acceptable to change your major. You don’t have to feel stuck with your first choice if your career goals evolve. However, when it comes to changing college majors, it is wise to exercise caution.

Don’t let temporary issues such as fatigue—or your aunt’s offhand comment about your major—be the reason you switch your focus of study. You don’t want to delay graduation unless it is absolutely necessary.

Still wondering if you should you switch majors? Ultimately, the decision is yours, but consider talking with one of your academic advisors before making up your mind. Your advisor can help you decide on the best move and explain how to change majors without losing too many completed credits.

Are you interested in becoming a part of the Azusa Pacific University community? Visit the school’s website to find information about your major and apply today.