Is it normal to change your major?
One of the great things about going to college is having the ability to explore a wide variety of career and learning pathways. This may lead you toward a different path than you expected pre-college. Through your classes and conversations with faculty and fellow students, you may end up stumbling upon something that is a better fit for you, or that truly excites you. When and if this happens, it may make sense to change your major.
There are a lot of decisions that go into making that choice, and there are a ton of resources out there to help you make that decision if it is right for you. We don't want you to feel held back by fear about what might happen if you make the change. So we’re here to give you the facts.
We spoke to a senior planning analyst in the Office of the University Provost, Diana Sesate, who has done research on the prevalence of ASU students changing their majors to help you understand how and why students change their majors, and how the change impacts their future careers and lives.
Watch this video reflection of a Sun Devil who changed her major and went on to understand how that change made her career and life what it is today. Then we’ll dive into the data.
More than 70 percent of ASU students change their major at least once before they graduate.
That’s a lot of Sun Devils. This number highlights how normal it is for students to find a better fit for their interests or career goals. This number encompasses a variety of students, some who are making a big change to their degree (for example switching from a computer science major to an art degree), and students making more industry-specific refinements (for example switching from a journalism major to a sports journalism major).
The median number of major changes per student is two.
This means that even if you’ve already changed your major, you may want to change it again. And you shouldn’t feel like it was a mistake or concerned that it will throw you off track or hold you back in your college experience. In fact, changing your major will likely bring you closer to your overarching goal of graduating with a degree in something you’re truly interested in or passionate about, and that will potentially lead you to a fulfilling career. That being said, you should meet with your advisor before and after switching your major to figure out what changes you’ll need to make to your graduation plan (classes, requirements, etc.).
More graduates change their major than students who do not graduate.
This statistic could be true for a number of reasons, so we don’t want you to take this as a sign to change your major for no reason. Director of Enrollment Analysis Sesate explained that this may be true mainly because students may have changed their major instead of leaving when the fit wasn't right. They then may be more likely to graduate upon finding the path that does work for them. What this all means is that if you do change your major, it may ultimately create a smoother path for you if you become more engaged and interested in the work you’re committing to for the rest of your college career.
ASU has a lot of resources available to help you with the process of changing your major.
Whether you’re considering changing your major and want to explore your options, or you’re ready to make the switch, ASU has resources to support you. For wherever you’re starting from, we recommend visiting the Changing Majors page. This page has resources to help you understand your options, explore majors and careers, and take an online assessment to help find a career path that matches your interests. It also has an online form where you can submit a change of major request and find an advisor to help you with the transition.
If you want to discuss your interests, career paths and options, start exploring. Reach out to your advisor (find them in My ASU under the Academic Support Team box), visit the career center for information on different jobs and paths you could take, or try reaching out to various student groups related to your interests.
Good luck — we’re confident you’ll find the best path if you keep asking questions and learning as much as you can about your options and exploring your interests.