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What to do if you want to change your major

Mercer students study in Tarver Library’s 24 hour study floor.
Mercer students study in Tarver Library’s 24 hour study floor.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 80% of college students will change their major on average at least three times. If you’re considering changing your major, you’re in good company! Before you commit, however, here are some things to consider.

Think about why you want to change your major

There are a lot of reasons to change your major, but some of them may just be temporary setbacks. Is it because you’re struggling with a class? Don’t like this one professor? Figure out if it’s something that is temporary and will get better before you take the plunge.

Ask yourself what first drew you to your major 

Why did you originally want to major in this? Did you pick it because you thought it would make you a lot of money? Did your family want you to? Make sure that you are picking something that you actually like!

Consider what others majors you’d be interested in

Mercer offers more than 30 different majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences alone. You have a wide variety of possibilities to consider, so make sure that you explore what else you think you’d enjoy studying. Pull up the catalog and list everything you think that you’d be interested in taking and go from there.

Check out the course catalog

The course catalog changes year-to-year, but there’s always the newest catalog on Mercer’s website. There’s a lot more information in the catalog than you may realize, such as summaries for what each major entails, the requirements and an overview of the different types of classes offered. It’s a good starting place to see if you’d be interested in those kinds of classes.

Talk to other students

Other students have taken the classes and studied the major that you’re interested in, so use them as resources. Find some students who are pursuing the major you’re interested in and ask them about it. Do they like the classes? What are their career plans? What do they like and dislike about their major? 

Talk to professors and advisors

One of the first steps you should take is talking to your advisor. They’ll understand what you’re going through and will be able to offer some help. Beyond that, however, utilize their experience as a professor. Talk to other professors from other departments and get their perspective, too. They studied the subject and have devoted their careers to teaching it, they’ll be able to give you a more complex, rounded view of the major.

Consider your future career opportunities

If you were originally a neuroscience major on the pre-med track and are wanting to switch to marketing, you’ll likely need to also re-evaluate your career goals. This means that you may not end up going to med school, but instead running social media for a Fortune 500 company. As long as you can see yourself enjoying and finding success in that career path you’re newly interested in, it’ll be alright!

Calm down

It’s easy to panic about majors and think that your entire future rests solely on what major you choose as a freshman, sophomore or even junior. However, there are a wide variety of opportunities available for most majors and there are plenty of resources at Mercer that are devoted to helping you. Talk to your advisor, Academic & Advising Services or the Center for Career and Personal Development if you need some help figuring out what you want to do or even just for reassurance about your major.

Remember that you can always change your mind

Just because you change your major once doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to change your mind again. Focus on finding your passion and pursuing it, even if it means changing majors a few times. 

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