Don’t Be Afraid to Be Undecided

student looks at a computer monitor

“What are you going to major in?” seems to be the go-to question of every family member, friendly acquaintance, and grocery store cashier when you are a senior in high school. This can be particularly difficult when you don’t have an answer ready; everyone around you seems to already know they’re pre-med or pre-law or majoring in music, and you might start to feel the creeping sense of imposter syndrome.

Here’s the secret those students don’t know: they don’t actually know what they want to major in either. Depending on whose statistics you look at, anywhere from 40-75% of undergraduate students change their major at least once before earning their degree. So even if everyone around you seems sure, they probably aren’t.

Don’t be afraid to be the one who’s undecided. As you enter college, especially liberal arts colleges, you’re going to be introduced to dozens of new fields and options that you don’t even realize are available right now. You can’t know that you want your major to be anthropology, human rights, public health, or engineering if you’ve never had the chance to know what those subjects mean.

Being undecided just means you enter college without being tied down—and with an open mind. You’ll be able to find your place with the help of advisors and professors, and you’ll be better for it. Don’t believe me? I was one of those people who knew exactly what I wanted to do who later changed my mind, and I wish I had been undecided. You can read more about my experience here and keep an open mind!

Rachel West
Associate Director of Admission, Agnes Scott College
Director, Colleges That Change Lives Board