Should I Declare A Major on My Application Or Apply Undecided?


Declaring a major can seem like just another daunting task you need to complete when applying to college, but this is one that allows for more flexibility than others. Unless you are applying to a specific school within a university or to a unique program dedicated to an academic track, you do not need to declare a major when completing your college application. It's okay to be undecided. However, if you do feel like informing the admissions office of an area you'd like to study, no one will hold you to that later if you end up changing your mind.

Most liberal arts academic programs will require students to declare a major by the end of sophomore year. That means you'll have plenty of time in this two-year window to evaluate the different routes you might take if you're still unsure of what to study specifically. In these first two years, while you're still finding your academic area of choice, you can work toward any general education requirements your school might have. After you declare, you'll have plenty of time in your junior and senior years to focus on the requirements dedicated to your major.

Will Being Undecided Impact Admission Decisions?

It's common for parents and applicants to believe that declaring a major on a college application matters in the admission decision. Some people think that declaring a major shows focus and passion, and that it helps to communicate what you will bring to the campus community. Some people worry that admission officers have quotas for different majors and committing to something popular like English may work against them if many other students have chosen the same major.

In most cases, admission officers do not expect the majority of high school seniors to have their careers mapped out, nor will they penalize you if you don't know what you want to study. If you must declare a major on your application and it will be considered inside the admissions office, the school will make that clear.

If you do know what you want to study, go ahead and include that in your application. The more information admission officers have about you, the clearer it will be that you're a great fit for their school.