Fear not, seniors: going undeclared does not harm you

Emily Kim , Sports Editor

As soon as we are old enough to speak, adults start asking  us the big question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Students are expected to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives before they are out of their teens.

Whether you select  pre-med or engineering or political science or psychology, there are too many options to choose right away. However, those who check “undecided” as their major on their college applications are open to numerous paths that they can explore to their hearts content.

The U.S. Department of Education 2010 list of academic programs offered at most colleges showed that there was a 22 percent increase within the last decade. With so many choices available, there is no reason to head on a set path at the very start of one’s college career.

Princeton, for example, reminds applicants that applying undecided will not hurt your chances of getting into the college of your dreams. Additionally, UCI’s admissions web page states: “At UCI the admissions process does not depend on the major the student puts. In our admissions process, we accept the student before taking into consideration their major.”

Many people forget that students do not officially need to declare their major until the end of their sophomore year in college. That gives two years for students to make the right choice, one that will impact the rest of  their life. Although the cost of attending college for two years without knowing which classes to take may seem daunting (and expensive), it is more efficient in the long run.

Many argue that going in undecided could increase the time  students spend in school, but, with the right planning, there is no need to spend another $15,000 to $25,000 per year on tuition.

Attending college and changing your career path numerous times is perhaps even more detrimental than the perceived horror of an undecided major. Changing majors multiple times can impact which classes you take and often delay getting into  certain classes. Also, depending on how drastic the switch may be, there is the cost of materials to think about.

According to the University of La Verne, two-thirds of students change their major at least once and half of those students will change it at least one more time. Therefore, it is better to go in undecided and complete the basic preliminary courses, rather than work toward a specific degree and end up pursuing a completely different path.

Undecided majors have more freedom in what classes they can take without completely weighing down their schedule. Often times, the stigma of not knowing what a student wants to do in the future pushes them to choose a path that is uninteresting to them. Although pleasing parents is important to many high school seniors, doing what you want to do is key in doing what you actually will do for the rest of your life.