Applying Undecided – Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Applying undecided -- should you or shouldn't you?

Does it make sense to pick some major you’re not even sure about just so you aren’t “undecided” on your college application? Probably not, but the answer can vary depending on the college you’re applying to, your own plans, and even the particular department within a university.

The only way to really know is, of course, to ASK.

Contact the admissions office — early in the process, not the day before their application deadline — and ask what their policies are.

Be sure to give them some details about your long-term plans. For example, if you want into their nationally ranked business program, but you know that it’s competitive and many students are turned away each year, they may have a well-developed internal transfer process for current students who apply undecided and work with a pre-business advisor during the freshman year.

The answer in our Smart Q & A – Should I apply undecided or declare a major has good information on this question.

If you are truly undecided and want a year or two to explore classes from various departments before committing to a major, then applying undecided, or “general studies” at some colleges, is a great option.

Some universities even require first-year students to begin as undecided or “general studies” or “exploratory” students.

As it turns out, even students who are sure about their majors during application time are likely to change majors before graduation. Studies show that up to 50% of college students change majors at some point.


Further reading:

Not a Major Deal

Choosing One Major Out of Hundreds

Smart Q & A – Is it better to apply undecided or declare a major?

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Author: Amy Widner

Amy is Vice President, Operations at Smart College Visit. She found her 20+ years of experience in corporate and higher education communication to be almost adequate preparation for her recent experience navigating the college search and admissions process with her oldest child. She finds joy in helping ease the process for all.

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