Is It Too Late to Change the Major on My Application?


I have a question about changing my major on my application. I applied to NC State as a film studies major during the early round and got deferred. I have since decided to be a sports management major. Should I ask NC State to change the major on my application? I think they will be making decisions any day now and I don't know if this would hurt or help me.

According to the NC State website, students who haven't yet received an admission decision can email and the school will take it under consideration. So you should follow these instructions and email the admission office with your change, assuming that you get this done before your decision arrives (which probably will be around the end of the month and not this week).

Note, however, that sports management is a more popular major at NC than film studies, so it might hurt your chances to make the switch before your admission decision has been finalized. On the other hand, if you're convinced that you don't want to pursue film studies, then it makes more sense to change NOW. You wouldn't want to be accepted as a film major and then discover that there's no space for you in the sports management program when you attempt to transfer into it.

On the other hand, if you suspect that you may have been deferred in the Early round because your grades and test scores in arts and humanities were your weaker ones, while your math numbers were stronger, then you could possibly have a better shot at sports management than at film studies.

One more tactic you can try before officially making a change is to email your regional admission representative at NC State. (This is the staff member who oversees applicants from your high school. If you live in North Carolina, your guidance counselor should be able to tell you who this is, if you don't already know. Otherwise, call the NC State admission office to find out.) Explain your dilemma and request advice on whether it's too late to make a change and — if it's not — ask if the change could help or hurt your acceptance odds. (Also explain briefly why you want to make the change. Perhaps the two seemingly disparate majors are even both connected to your long-term plans ... e.g., if you hope to make sports-related videos or films.)

Keep in mind, however, that the best chance for deferred NC applicants to get good news in the Regular round is to submit improved grades and test scores. So if your grades and/or tests have gone up since you first applied, this will play the biggest role in your outcome. If neither your grades nor your tests have improved, then a change of major isn't likely to help you.

Good luck!

About the Ask the Dean Column

Sally Rubenstone is a veteran of the college admissions process and is the co-author of three books covering admissions. She worked as a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years and has also served as an independent college counselor, in addition to working as a senior advisor at College Confidential since 2002. If you'd like to submit a question to The Dean, please send it along here.

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