The decision between which college to attend once you have all of your acceptances is inescapably difficult. You have to consider all aspects of each university. This includes your financial aid package, distance from home, fields of study and campus size. However, once you get through decision season and start your first semester at university, a new question looms overhead: what do you major in?
On your college applications, you most likely listed a particular major. You could have read about the major on the university's website and found it interesting. Or, in contrast, you may have known that this major was something you wanted to major in your whole academic life. Either way, choosing a major to list on your application is a much easier decision than committing to studying a major for the next few years of your life. As a result, a lot of times, we list ourselves as undecided due to the fact we simply don't know what to choose. While there tends to be a stigma around being undecided, there are a lot of benefits in reality.
1. You have the flexibility to explore.
One reason it is so beneficial to list yourself as undecided is that you can take the classes that interest you, rather than those you're required to. When listing ourselves down as a particular major from the moment we step on to campus, we tend to fall into the mindset that we have to prioritize completing those requirements first. While it is significant to focus on what is necessary for your chosen field of study, college is also a time of exploration. We are surrounded by so many esteemed intellectuals who have devoted their lives to academia, it'd be a shame not to take advantage of it.
2. You're able to pursue a multitude of opportunities.
Being undecided implies an openness that others may not present. When applying to opportunities such as internships and externships, being undecided demonstrates a fluidity that other applicants do not have. For example, a humanities major applying to a STEM program is viewed with much more scrutiny than an undecided student applying to either. Rather than being restricted to only applying to openings related to your field of study, you're able to apply to a number of opportunities that interest you.
3. You have a lot of time.
It seems as if a lot of us, myself included, fall into the trap of believing we need to have everything figured out. This isn't the case. Rather than pursuing resume and transcript boosters, take that philosophy seminar you find so enthralling or the organic chemistry lecture you love to hate. One of the major principles of education is experience. Experiencing different fields and learning styles is what will make you the best student you can be. Don't trick yourself into believing that if you don't have the next decade planned out the world will fall apart. It won't.
4. You can choose a major you love.
Having a passion for your intended field of study is pivotal towards thriving in that same field. Rather than starting school pursuing a major you may not end up enjoying, by entering undecided you have the ability to cultivate an interest in learning about a particular field. While a major may serve as an entry ticket at times, once you pursue a liberal arts or even research-oriented education, you should find your passion and what excites you in your studies.
5. You'll avoid the hassle of changing your major.
Picture this: you enter your first year of college solely focusing on one particular major. You've known you wanted to pursue this major since your junior year of high school. You start taking classes towards that major and realize it's not what you expected it to be. Now you have to go through the inconvenience of changing your major. When you enter college as undecided, you are not only able to explore different classes and fields of study, but you can do so without the inconvenience that is inherent of changing your major. You can take advantage of your indecision in ways others can't.
6. You can improve your GPA.
If you did not do as well as you hoped during high school, you can improve your GPA if you enter college as an undecided major. This proves to be incredibly beneficial when you are interested in applying to a competitive major program at your school. By taking a couple of semesters to take classes that you enjoy and know you'll do well in, you can improve your appeal towards that particular program.
Overall, it is hard not to want to have everything figured out. However, college is the time to explore and figure out not only who you are and what you want, but why you want those things. You have time to pursue everything that interests you. Make sure you take a step back and acknowledge that, and most importantly, breathe.