When it comes to college majors, there are two types of students: students who have no idea what they want to do with their major, and liars.
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Jokes aside, many students actually do enter college with what they think is their definite major; some may even have a comprehensive four-year plan for what they are going to do in college. However, many of these plans end up changing because of various circumstances - new interests, new discoveries, etc. But, how do you switch majors? How difficult is it? Is it worth it? We interviewed a student that changed his majors three times to help answer any questions you may have about switching majors in college.
A little background to our interviewee (who shall be called "J"). J is an incoming third year studying at UC Berkeley originally from the East Coast. Read on to see his story!
1. What did you enter as? What did you change to? What major are you currently?
So, I originally came to Berkeley intending to be pre-med and so I was studying Molecular Cell Biology (MCB). After one semester, I realized it wasn’t really for me despite my interest in STEM and Biology so I changed to the business track. I wanted to study at Haas or at least economics. Ultimately, I realized something in the middle would be my best fit. I am now studying economics and public policy while later planning to pursue an MBA in healthcare management.
2. For each major, what was the motivation behind it?
With MCB, I had always had an interest in biology and been a relatively decent STEM student. Furthermore, as a Chinese-American student there was a slight pressure to pursue the typical doctor or lawyer career and I thought doctor would suit me better. The motivation in switching to business was that I just didn’t like pre-med as much as I thought I would. I also did a lot of business clubs during high school so I thought it might be a decent fit. And finally, deciding to pursue healthcare management seems like a good in between where I could get elements of both fields.
3. Did you know what you wanted to do with the major in the future for each one?
With MCB, it was pretty clearly to become a doctor or do research but I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do either. I haven’t known what I want to do specifically with each major and still don’t really.
4. Was it hard to switch? Did any prerequisites you took for one major negative affect your GPA? Did you find it hard to fit new prereqs in your new schedule?
It was definitely challenging to switch. I considered a lot of different majors and some I thought that I’d be interested in were just too difficult to switch to, mostly in regards to majors in different schools. The prerequisites for MCB definitely hurt my GPA more than if I had studied business from the start. Luckily, I decided to switch out of MCB quickly so it wasn’t terribly hard to fit in business prerequisites but it did set me behind. Finally, switching to healthcare management, it would be more ideal to major in something like public health but I wasn’t able to because I was not on track for the prerequisites in time.
5. How are you feeling about your new major now? Is it pretty set or do you think you could see yourself changing again?
Now I intend to major in economics and minor in public policy in hopes of studying healthcare management. I think it is a good middle ground that I will stick with. Especially since I’m now a junior, I don’t see myself changing again.
Special thanks to J for letting us interview him and for sharing his story! We hope this blog post helped those of you unsure about what you want to major in in the future and are wondering what it's like to switch later on.