Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Interest Change

ninemusesninemuses Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
I have a problem, I think. So for the past three years of high school (I'm a junior) I've focused mostly on medicine and biology in terms of extracurriculars/coursework (taking a biomedical pathways class for all four years, volunteering at a local hospital, being an officer in a club called HOSA, Health Occupations Students of America, taking AP Biology, getting an A in the class and a 4 on the test, and SAT II Biology M, getting a 780). One of my main motives for pursuing extracurriculars and classes in the biology/biomedical field is because, when I was 10, my mother visited Iraq, our home country, and told me of the despicable conditions of the hospitals there, and how often suicidal car bombings and whatnot occur, and how it's better to die in such an explosion than have to be in a hospital there because of how bad the conditions are--from then on, I decided that I wanted to work to improve conditions there (I'm fluent in Arabic and ultimately want to move there and start to work to do so), and although I no longer want to attend medical school (the cost and time involved is too much for me, and my dream has now shifted to starting a biotech company that can provide some sort of assistance to hospitals there), I still want (or at least, wanted) to pursue a major in biology or something along those lines in college.
However, I've recently experience a major interest change. Actually, that's not entirely true--I've always been very interested in history, for as long as I can remember. I was one of those dorks that memorized the U.S. presidents in elementary school for fun, LOL. And recently, becoming more educated in politics and history had made me realize that pursuing a career in politics can really provide a "realistic" way to combine my love of history with an occupation other than teaching. I've also been reading more about politics and really find it fascinating, particularly with the current presidential election, and have been getting more informed in U.S. political history. Because of this, I've realized that being involved in politics can perhaps help me accomplish my dream of helping Iraq by targeting the direct problem of corrupt politics, or potentially being a political correspondent or journalist that would eventually be successful enough to be a freelance investigative journalist that can expose the many problems of Iraqi government. I know that's a potentially unattainable vision for the future, of course, but my dream is what shapes me and motivates me.
So, the problem is (sorry this is so long!), I want to apply to colleges under a polisci major next year. The problem is that none of my extracurriculars or classes really reflect that I have a major interest (granted, I got a 780 on SAT II World History and a 5 on the AP World AP exam and A in the class), and I won't have time to this summer because I'll be gone for much of it visiting Iraq (for the first time in 15 years...irony?). So, when I apply to colleges this fall, should I apply as a polisci major, aligning with my "newly" discovered personal interests, or as a biology major, and switch, or should I apply undeclared? I've heard from others that applying undeclared requires you to take more GE classes (which would cost more, and money is an issue for me), so I'm kind of leaning away from that option, but I'm afraid of being rejected for applying in a major that would make no sense to colleges if I don't explain this entire situation. I've always found history easy and interesting, and biology confusing and hard, and have to work much harder to do well in those classes, and I'm afraid of burning out, not doing well, or not enjoying my time in college if I apply as a biology major.
Thank you so much if you read this! I know it was very lengthy, and I will greatly appreciate any advice I receive.

Replies to: Interest Change

  • alooknacalooknac Registered User Posts: 1,277 Senior Member
    When applying to most colleges, you don't declare a major during the admissions process. There will be places to designate your interests and it would be just fine to designate varied interests such as biology and history. Usually college students declare a major by the end of their 2nd year. That may be different for some specialized fields like engineering or pre-med, but sounds like you are currently wide open as to major. Colleges know that no matter if an applicant says that they want a particular major, a huge percentage of them change their minds.

    So, most likely, when applying you won't be explaining anything about a major. When looking at colleges, be sure to check if they have classes and/or majors and minors in whatever area you even vaguely think you're interested in. In my opinion, college is a great time of discovery. There will be departments and classes in fields you may never have heard of yet!
  • ProfessorDProfessorD Registered User Posts: 288 Junior Member
    Broad interests are the sign of an active mind. I am always a little wary of students who try to 'pre-professionalize' themselves before they've even tasted the breadth of disciplines available to them. Heck, that's the entire rationale behind the liberal arts curriculum: that people achieve more in any field when they have exposure & experience in every field.

    Go read "How to Fix the Premedical Curriculum" by Lewis Thomas. It's a seminal essay on the topic (from tge other side, arguing doctors should all study history, etc.).
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,700 Senior Member
    In many schools, or arts and sciences divisions of larger universities, applying undeclared, biology, or political science does not affect admission selectivity. In some schools, there may be admission directly to the major, so applying to your preferred major may be advantageous if you attend (you will not have to change major, and if the major is oversubscribed, you will not have to compete for a spot). Political science is less likely to be an oversubscribed major than many other majors (like nursing, business, computer science, some kinds of engineering, economics, psychology).
This discussion has been closed.