by Sally Masters, associate director of advising in the UARC
I have the privilege of working solely with “Undecided” majors. Over the years, I have often found students who are still exploring majors show up for advising appointments looking a little glum and sounding like they are a bit ashamed. It is common for students to share they feel pressure from parents, family members, and friends to pick a major, any major, just so they have one.
If you are still deciding on a college major, I’m here to tell you it is not just okay to start your college career undecided, it can actually be a good thing! There are benefits to starting college undecided:
- You are not alone! On the average, each year, approximately 50% of college students across the U.S. start college with an undeclared major. You would be surprised at how many of your friends are undecided as well, but just maybe not talking about it.
- There is supportive research that shows that students who enter college as an undecided major tend to graduate sooner than those who start college with a declared major and then change their major along the way. The percentage of students who change their major at least once while in college is 75%. So, as you can imagine, depending on when that change of major occurs, it can increase the time to graduation since courses may have been taken that no longer meet requirements for the new major.
- You have the option to take more diverse classes to explore or confirm your interests. As an undecided major, you can pretty much take classes in any subject, have these classes count toward your general education requirements, and explore the major associated with these classes as a side benefit. You might even take a class in a subject that sparks an interest you didn’t even know you had!
At UWO, we welcome our students who are still exploring! We have a tremendous bank of resources to assist you in your major exploration process, with the most valuable resource being your assigned professional academic advisor. Once on campus, your academic advisor will walk through the exploration process with you, guiding you to resources to help you learn more about yourself, your skills, values, and interests.
So, the next time someone asks you what your planned college major is, you can tell them proudly you plan to start college undecided.
This article was written by Sally Maters, associate director of advising in the UW Oshkosh Undergraduate Advising Resource Center.