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Declaring a major for college admissions?

Zairia13Zairia13 16 replies21 threads Junior Member
Can declaring a major on you're college application help your chances of getting in? I was just wondering because I'm applying to all eight Ivy leagues, Stanford, and thet competitive schools so anything that can help would be great!
5 replies
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Replies to: Declaring a major for college admissions?

  • shawnspencershawnspencer 3121 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Why are you applying to all eight ivy league schools and Stanford?
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  • T26E4T26E4 23243 replies1031 threads Senior Member
    shawnspencer asks an excellent question, one that likely will increase your odds of being rejected at most of them. What do you view as the similarity among the schools on your list? I suspect it starts with P and ends with E.

    If that's all you can come up with (because if you really knew the schools well enough to submit cogent application, you'd know some are VASTLY different than some others) -- you're in trouble. e.g. how will you answer: "Why Columbia" versus "Why Brown?"

    I would never recommend anyone to take the path you're contemplating.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 42310 replies8428 threads Super Moderator
    edited November 2014
    Harvard does not admit by major, so declaring an intended major will not help you.

    Applying to all of the Ivy League schools plus Stanford plus whatever is just folly. I would rethink the strategy. Each college has a different vibe, and it is unlikely that you would be equally happy at all of them. Life in Hanover is different than life in Morningside Heights. Brown's Open Curriculum has a different appeal than Columbia's Core Curriculum. Your college list should be built upon what appeals to you, not anyone else.

    Blindly applying to all 8 schools shows, IMO, a lack of focus in your application strategy, and I suspect that lack of focus will show somewhere else in the application (like your essays), which will not help you in the admissions process.
    edited November 2014
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • gibbygibby 10541 replies249 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    College's ask about your "intended major" to gauge your interests. But, they don't recruit by what you write down because 60% of students change their major at least once during their four years of school, so a student's "intended major" does not align with the actual major a student will graduate with.

    That said, many students these days are gravitating toward CS or STEM and few are wanting to major in the humanities. So, your chances might actually be better at some schools by writing humanities as your "intended major," although I would think colleges would look closely at a student's EC's, essays and teacher recs trying to gauge how serious the student's interest actually is : http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/education/as-interest-fades-in-the-humanities-colleges-worry.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

    FWIW: One of my daughter's teachers told his class that he would be happy to write their letter of recommendation. However, each student must provide him with a list of the colleges they were applying to and the reasons they wanted to go there. If the reasons were not clear, or if they applied to all 8 ivies and Stanford, he would write at the top of LoR “This student is unfocused and unclear what they want from their college experience.”
    edited November 2014
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  • skieuropeskieurope 42310 replies8428 threads Super Moderator
    @gibby I hope this was not an English teacher :)
    This student is unfocused and unclear what they want from their college experience.
    their s/b his/her. Otherwise, smart teacher.
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