Advice For High School Students Considering Applying to Post-Secondary as an Undecided Major
By Tiffany Chang
Applying to attend post-secondary schools can be daunting at times. Essentially, this is your next step in preparing yourself for adulthood.
However, what also may add on more uncertainty is going into post-secondary without a determined major. Superficially, it’s often associated with declaring that you haven’t decided what you would like to do and you remain unsure about your future.
If the statements above are similar to what your currently experiencing, here’s some more detailed advice on how you can successfully navigate this consideration:
There’s Absolutely Nothing Wrong With Applying As An Undecided Major
You have no need to fear! You still have plenty of time and many options to explore.
In the case where you are accepted as an undecided major, many use the first two or three semesters to figure out what the best program(s) is for them. (Of course, this time frame could be shorter or longer, depending on when you decide.) Even if you come to a decision then change your mind again, its common for people to switch majors.
Map Out What Your Opportunities Are
If you’re considering applying as an undecided major but still want to or are also considering choosing a specific major, look closer at what seems relatively appealing to you.
Do the following:
Exercise 1: Take inventory of what your current interests and strengths are, then see if they coincide with any programs at your prospective post-secondary schools. You could even write them down to organize your thoughts.
Microsoft Excel is a useful tool here. Columns can list what’s stated above, i.e. interests, strengths, and possible majors each having their own column, and then organized so the rows show that the “interests” and “strengths” cells align with the corresponding program(s) cells.
Create a “program/major” column for every school you’ve considered applying to.
Tip: Colour each column to make them more easily distinguishable. For example, “University of British Columbia” could be in blue, while using green and orange for “University of Toronto” and “Langara College” respectively.
Exercise 2: On another separate sheet, express what you personally think of applying as an undecided major.
Afterwards, carefully look at everything you’ve written down. Doing these exercises might help you finalize your decision.
Surround Yourself With People Who Will Support You Unconditionally
Deciding where to start doesn’t have to be scary. By having a good support system, as in people supporting you no matter what direction you’ve chosen for yourself, combined with the right attitude, everything will fall into place. Therefore, if you truly believe beginning your post-secondary journey as an undecided major is the right choice for you, don’t second-guess yourself or discount that opportunity.
The term “undecided” for students in this context should be discerned as an open door leading to numerous possibilities. Selecting “undecided major” remains a legitimate option and isn’t meant to put huge amounts of pressure on high school students.
Overall, it’s giving yourself a fresh start and a certain leeway that involves making the most of what your future post-secondary institution has to offer.