Why an Undeclared Major Might Be Right For You

Starting your first semester of college and entering a new chapter of your life can be a very exciting time. Taking your first steps on your university’s campus, meeting new friends that you’ll have for life, and experiencing that first wave of real independence is an unforgettable feeling and creates a new sense of wonder.

Amidst all the excitement, the process of starting your academic journey can be a bit overwhelming—particularly when you aren’t sure what you want to study. Should you pick a major if you aren’t quite sure which path to take, or should you find an undeclared major program? 

It’s estimated that around 75 percent of students change their major at least once during their four or more years of study at college. This process can often be challenging, time consuming, and stressful for students. 

No matter what your situation is, choosing a major shouldn’t have to be a linear process, and taking time to explore different academic programs should be supported in an undeclared major program.

To help mitigate the stress and hassle of changing majors, some colleges and universities offer undeclared major programs where students don’t have to declare a major when they first arrive on campus. Illinois Institute of Technology, for instance, has launched the Discover+ program, where incoming students can explore their academic interests and declare a major at their own pace.

But what does undeclared mean? Here’s a look at what an undeclared major is, and why it might be right for you. 

It’s Flexible

If you appreciate having an appropriate amount of space and freedom to make an important decision, an undeclared major could be perfect for you. Illinois Tech’s Discover+ offers students up to two years to explore various courses and areas of interest before you have to make a final decision and choose a major. If you find that you have narrowed in on a major earlier than you thought, that’s fine, too. You also have the option to declare a major as soon as the second semester of your first year in the program. Otherwise, you have the flexibility to keep considering options and make a final decision by the end of your second year at Illinois Tech.

It Encourages Exploration and Self Discovery

If you have multiple interests and are constantly seeking knowledge about various topics, an undeclared major program allows you to channel that curiosity and choose from a wide variety of courses in virtually any subject. The Discover+ program encourages students to think outside the box and to take time to try a new subject, pursue an unconventional interest, or dive deeper into something you’re already familiar with.

It Knocks Out General Requirements

An undeclared major can help you fulfill your general requirement credits before transitioning into your major of choice. Additionally, you’ll be able to start completing credits for your courses of interest, making your transition even easier. Once you’ve completed your general requirements and chosen a major, you’ll be able to focus solely on the main courses of your program and work on fulfilling your academic goals.

It Keeps You on Track to Graduate

If you plan to graduate in four years despite being uncertain of your specific path, an undeclared major can help you achieve that. Once you have honed in on an area of study and discerned what major truly captures your interests and goals, you can easily transition into that academic program. At Illinois Tech, you’ll meet with your adviser each semester and discuss your progress, and then be able to create a plan for yourself that is efficient and keeps you on track to graduate at the rate you want to. Discover+ is designed to prioritize your interests, along with your academic and career goals. 

If you are an incoming student and are having trouble deciding what major is right for you, or just want to make sure you are covering all your bases, learn more about Illinois Tech’s Discover+ program to see if an undeclared major is right for you.