Waiting To Choose Your Major
Your first year of university or college is going to be stressful for a lot of reasons. It’s a time when many of your life skills will be put to the test. You’ll break boundaries and rebuild, only to break them down again. Your academic life will probably demand most of your time with course work, lectures, labs, research projects and more. It will all seem overwhelming at first, and to combat that feeling you might feel pressured to be proactive – to get things done and get them out of the way as soon as you can. Caught up in the confusing whirlwind that is school, new friends and living on your own, you might feel like you need to make your decisions right away without taking the time to ask questions and really consider what those decisions might lead to in the future. One of those decisions is choosing a major or minor.
When applying to universities, most will offer the option of applying to a specific degree program. The decision you make there isn’t set in stone and it’s important not to treat it that way. Most universities will give you until your third or fourth year to change your major or minor if you need to.
In your first year, you’ll be taking some of the courses required in the major you chose initially. This is a good time to get a feel of what the coursework in your program will be like in the future. That said, most first year courses will barely scratch the surface as far as what that program is really about. Taking a couple of second year courses in your second semester of first year will give you a clearer picture. If you find your original program isn’t something you’re interested in anymore, it might be time to change your major. However, you should hold off on that decision until you have a better idea of what you do want to learn. Remember: most universities will give students at least until third year to declare a major.
Most programs will allow taking courses from other disciplines provided you still meet the requirements of your original program. Keep in mind the suggested course schedules for first year tend to have a large amount of open spots which you can use to take courses outside your program that you might be interested in while still staying on track to complete your current major.
If, while at university, you find yourself doubting your academic path, make an appointment with an academic program counsellor. Ask them about taking courses outside your major and figure out where your academic boundaries are set. You’ll be paying thousands of dollars for higher learning, so you might as well learn the skills you’re most interested in.