Tips From a San Diego College Tutor: Thinking About Changing Majors? Consider These 6 Questions

Many students will pick a major they think will hold their interest or help them pursue their talents. However, those one or two elective courses in high school may not be enough of an experience to choose a major that will support a 30-year career. Many students will start out in one major and discover that it might just not be working out. Changing majors is a significant decision and there are a few things that students should consider before making the change official (READ: “Tips from an O.C. Tutor: 5 Educational Activities to do over Thanksgiving Break”).


1. Will you be able to graduate on time?

Graduating on time is the biggest issue for most students because time in college means tuition as well as months without income. Most students can’t finish in four years and adding on an additional semester or year to change majors can potentially be very difficult.  However, if a student speaks with an academic counselor, they may find that they could still graduate on time if they squeeze in one extra class or take summer school. It’s important to find this out prior to making the change official.

2. How much will it cost to change majors?

Another thing students will want to find out is how much additional tuition they will have to pay. For instance, some students may be able to take courses over the summer and pay reduced tuition. Many universities consider a full-time student to be someone who takes between three and five courses, meaning that those two extra courses are essentially free. Additionally, some colleges will allow students to take a limited number of classes at a community college that has significantly reduced fees. Each university will have a different policy and it’s better to check ahead of time.

3. Is one extra year in college more important than 30 years in a career?

Even though it will be a challenge, for many students one more year of education is definitely worth 30 years in a career. If students discover they don’t have a natural talent in their major, they wouldn’t want to spend decades struggling to find and keep a job. Also, students who discover that the career they always wanted will require a different major wouldn’t even be able to begin their career without this additional education. It’s a good idea to have a second and third choice major prior to making the declaration official junior year but students who have passed that date can still speak with an academic advisor and get helpful information.

4. Can you minor in a second subject rather than switch majors?

Some students will discover they don’t actually need to switch majors rather they can simply add a minor. Although this is no simple feat, adding a minor may take less time and money to complete a degree. This is also a good idea for students who are floundering between two career options or who aren’t exactly sure what they want to do with their lives yet (READ: “5 Signs You Need a College Math Tutor”).

5. Will scholarships or financial aid support the change?

Many students rely on financial aid or scholarships to help them through their university education. It’s essential for students considering changing majors to find out if their financial aid or scholarship will support the additional time needed. Some students may find they can handle one additional semester of tuition through a personal loan or financial support from family, while others simply won’t be able to do it.

6. How many additional classes will you need?

Every college student’s situation will be different, and it’s important they get individualized information from their specific university. For instance, somebody changing from English to Communications may only need three additional classes (that can be easily taken over the summer) to switch majors. On the other hand, someone switching from Chemistry to Music may have to start all over. Again, these are important things to discuss with an advisor at the university before making a change.

If you need help choosing a college major, talk with one of our experienced San Diego college consultants. Call us today for more information.

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