College sets the stage for employment, pressing students to choose the right education for their career hopes. Although it’s an easy prospect for students with clear work goals in mind, others are slow committing to an academic major. While picking a program early in your college career has advantages, being undeclared might not be so bad.
College degree programs usually require candidates to complete general education requirements, along with coursework related to each major. That means students from many different majors pass through the same basic classes on their way to degrees. Why not get some of these courses out of the way as an undeclared degree candidate?
Staying undeclared while you complete basic coursework keeps your options open. A lot can happen in a year or two, as you chip away at core classes. A flexible approach enables you to follow employment trends, declaring your course of study when the time is right. Future career opportunities and even new degree programs might be more appealing than those available today. Putting off a commitment can save you the trouble of changing your major later.
Declaring a major is a meaningful personal milestone, demonstrating a professional commitment to your chosen field. Although it can be undone, locking down a course of study shouldn’t be taken lightly. Like marrying for the wrong reasons, declaring your major too soon can create complications.
What if your values change? What if your college experience steers you in a new direction? Will your credentials be in demand upon graduation, or is your chosen profession in decline? Remaining undeclared gives you time to answer these and other important questions, ensuring your education decisions reflect your personal and professional goals.
Time and Money
Declaring early works for many students who are confident in their career plans. If your dream is immovable, committing to an academic major can help keep you focused during school. And since competitive programs may have more interest than available spots, pledging to a program is often the best way to gain access to degree courses. If you’re uncertain about your career direction, however, declaring a major too soon can cost you time and money.
Tuition is expensive, so you want every credit you earn applied to your major. Setting out in one direction only to double back and change your major can leave you with unused credits. For every class you complete that doesn’t apply to your degree program, you’ll spend another semester replacing it with one that does. Not only does the approach set you back financially, but you’ll also spend more time in school earning your degree.
You can’t get a degree without declaring a major, so you shouldn’t lose sight of the endgame. In the meantime, liberal arts studies provide a broad base to draw from as your educational plans firm up. Even if you don’t nail down a specific major, narrow your focus as soon as possible so your coursework stays relevant. Use the opportunity to build a strong GPA, bringing good grades with you when formally declaring your major.
Picking a major can help keep you on track during college, but being undeclared also has advantages. Use the flexible approach to find your true calling, without wasting time and money.