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Switching Majors

Madi12Madi12 8 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
I was wondering how easy it is and if it's acceptable to switch majors in college. Here's the situation I'm talking about: Let's say I apply to a school and put my intended major as one that isn't too poplar at that school. Would that help me get into the school? And how easy would it be to switch my major to a popular one once I'm at the school? i.e. Apply as an Art History major but want to switch to a Biology or Anatomy major.
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Replies to: Switching Majors

  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,185 Senior Member
    Apply for what you want to do regardless of its selectivity. Trying to game the system doesn't work.
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  • Madi12Madi12 8 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    Even if it is a reach school? Thanks for the feedback!
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  • Madi12Madi12 8 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    Even if it is a reach school? Thanks for the feedback!
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  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,185 Senior Member
    The way I think of it is -- if you get in, great. If you don't get in, it wasn't meant to be and you'll still presumably go to college somewhere else.

    Colleges can make it difficult to change majors; they can make it difficult to change colleges/schools if they admit by those instead of major; they could notice all of your ECs are related to your real major and suspect the subterfuge (and what'll you do if they ask you to write an essay about your career goals and major? Lie?); everyone could have the same idea, making the fake major just as competitive; or the difference between the acceptance rates could be negligible anyway.
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  • JustGraduateJustGraduate 658 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 672 Member
    If your "real" intended major is impacted, you won't be able to just switch when you get on campus. Most schools make it difficult to change into an impacted major if they even allow it, and will require a specific minimum GPA and prerequisite classes taken before attempting the change. That means you'd be stuck taking classes in your admitted major for a semester or 2, and might well result in taking longer than 8 semesters to graduate. Universities are wise to the scheme of applying to a less competitive major to get in the school then try to change majors and typically don't encourage it
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  • philbegasphilbegas 2924 replies73 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,997 Senior Member
    It really depends on the school and the major. Sometimes it's as simple as filling requirements and asking an advisor. At other schools, you have to apply specifically to a competitive program.
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  • ilovesparky13ilovesparky13 24 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I agree with what everyone else has been saying. At cc's it might be easy to switch, but at a university, it's usually much harder or sometimes even impossible.
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  • juilletjuillet 12575 replies160 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 12,735 Super Moderator
    It's not the differences between CCs and universities; it's the difference between colleges that admit by major and colleges that don't.

    Some colleges and universities handle admissions by major - like the Cal States and UW-Seattle. Other universities handle admission by school, like Penn State and Michigan - so you are admitted to a specific school, like Literature, Science and the Arts or the Eberly College of Science.

    At those schools, applying to less common majors may theoretically help your application, since you face a lower level of competition. However, at those schools switching majors would be difficult unless the major was in the same school. So for example, at Michigan applying in art history (or art and ideas in the humanities) wouldn't really help you much, since biology and that major are in the same college (LSA). At Penn State, it wouldn't help you because art history and biology are in two different colleges, so if you got into Penn State's college with art history in it, you would then have to apply to transfer to the Eberly College of Science to major in biology.

    Other colleges and universities don't admit by major at all. So places like Harvard, Princeton, Amherst, Swarthmore - they admit students to the college or undergraduate division of the university as a whole. You can change your major freely at those places - but for that reason, trying to apply in art history if you really want to major in biology is pointless, because those places don't quite care what your major is.

    Think about it this way...you can't have been the first high school senior to ever have this cross your mind. As a matter of fact, if you look through the threads on CC alone you'll find tons of people who have asked this question (it gets asked over and over). Obviously the admissions office has thought of it too, and put in boundaries that prevent people from trying to game the system.
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