Changing Your Major Late in the Game: You Can Do It!

This blog post was written by Intern Queen Campus Ambassador Ruchika Devalapalli from Rutgers University.

Roughly 80% of students change their majors at least once during the course of their four years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. College helps you decide what kind of person you are and the career best suited for you. Unfortunately, way too many college students give major-switching a negative connotation and make it synonymous with "time-wasting." College is expensive. You want to get the most you can out of the four years you are required to be there. However, a lot of students don't realize that their majors aren't for them until it's almost or just too late. Fortunately for those students, it's never too late to change your major and your career. And I can prove it because that's exactly what I did.

I had spent a very large portion of my life telling myself that I would grow up to be a doctor. I even went to a high school where I was part of a medical science program. I walked into my first day of my freshman year of college filled with bright ideas and huge ambition. Fast-forward a year: one failed calculus class, one failed chemistry class, and several mediocre grades later, I started to think that maybe science wasn't really meant for me. However, I kept going, because science and careers in science were all I knew. It wasn't until my second semester sophomore year that I decided to dabble in other options. I landed an internship at a local public relations firm and immediately fell in love. It was exactly the kind of work environment and lifestyle I needed. So finally, after a year and a half of kidding myself, I decided to do what I thought was impossible and flip my entire academic track 180 degrees. Going into my junior year, I had formed a game plan to finish my major in Communication, be successful in the world of PR, and still graduate on time. You CAN change your major, with these steps:

1. Find out what classes you need to take and TAKE THEM ASAP. First things first - it is crucial to study your new major requirements and know them like you've never known anything before. This is your new life now and chances are you probably don't know many other people in the same field to help you out. Know what classes you need to take, what semesters they're offered, and who's teaching them. I understand that being the only upperclassman in a predominantly freshman prerequisite intro class isn't the best feeling in the world, but remember, you're in the midst of changing everything. There is no time to feel bad about yourself.

2. Figure out your job prospects. This is important because you need to start figuring out if the right thing to do is finding an internship and making contacts or taking an entrance exam and preparing for graduate school. Do you need to start creating a portfolio of writing samples or do you need to find research experience? And what extra-curricular activities will really show your future employers that you are the right person for the job, because that is essentially your end goal. Every field you could possibly work has some sort of specific requirement. You already decided to put in the effort to make this change; you might as well do it right and be the best at it.

3. Find professionals in your field who know what they're doing. The only way you are going to be successful at anything is learning from the people who have already got it right. Whether it be a friend who graduated and is working, a professor, or an employee at your dream job, anyone who can give you the advice you need to put you on the right path is the person for you. This person is here to stop the worst thing that can possibly happen from happening: freaking out. They are here to let you know that what you want to do can be accomplished and will show you the steps to make happen.

4. Believe that you can accomplish anything. This is the most important step of the entire process. There will be setbacks, negative criticism, and a whole bunch of people telling you that you made a huge mistake. However, with all of that comes an unbelievable will to accomplish exactly what you want to do. You have to believe that even when things start appearing impossible, everything will eventually improve and get better.

In the end, it's not just about changing your major and your career path; it's about changing your way of life. And so what if changing your major means taking an extra semester or even an extra year? If it means securing your sense of happiness and accomplishment, consider it worth it. Believe that you have control over your life and the decisions that you make. You will be successful.