5 Myths About Choosing a Major
Choosing a major is a choice every student planning to attend college makes. Maybe the choice came easily for you. You’ve always known that you want to be a lawyer, teacher, or animator. Perhaps choosing a major is like speed dating—many programs catch your eye, but you haven’t felt that spark to commit to one. Maybe you don’t have any clue where to start.
No matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, choosing a major is a big part of opening your next chapter as a college student. However, there are five myths about choosing a major that many students fall prey to. Don’t be one of them!
5 Myths About Choosing a Major
1. Some Majors Are Easier Than Others
Don’t get taken in. If you go into college thinking that you’ll be able to sail through by doing the bare minimum, you will be surprised. There is no such thing as an easy major. Ease depends on time management, aptitude and interest.
Course instruction can vary depending on the school, but one thing remains constant: a lack of interest in a subject will make it harder to complete coursework. Not only does choosing the “easy major” mean choosing something that you might find irrelevant, but it also risks your sense of belonging.
Not choosing a major that aligns with your interests could set you up for underperformance. College students with a “greater sense of belonging tend to have higher motivation, more academic self-confidence, higher levels of academic engagement and higher achievement.”1 Outside of academics, you can build your sense of belonging by participating in on-campus activities.
2. You Need to Choose a Major as Soon as Possible
It’s okay not to be sure what you want to major in. You’re at a unique time in your life where you’re learning what it’s like to make decisions on your own. Who you were when you began high school is different from who you are now.
You are constantly evolving, and your interests, dislikes, and abilities are too! You can take the time to learn and explore during your first year of college by completing general education courses and fulfilling elective requirements.
It’s better to take time to discover what you like at the beginning of your college career than to switch later. Switching majors can add extra completion time for your degree program and cost valuable financial aid dollars.
3. Your Major is Set in Stone
Should you decide to declare a major while applying, you can still change your mind later. Despite popular belief, you don’t have to complete the major you chose when you enrolled. If you’re wondering, “can you change majors in college” the answer is: yes!
If you are feeling uncertain about continuing with the degree you’ve chosen, you can always reach out to your academic advisor to discuss your options. An academic advisor can help you stay on track to graduate even if you change your program.
If you feel like the odd one out, don’t worry. A study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 30% of undergraduate students change majors, and around 10% change majors more than once.2
Regent is committed to working with you to succeed. Contact the Office of Advising for any help you might need changing or selecting a major.
4. Liberal Arts Majors Are Only Able to Teach
This myth is plain false. Many students believe that liberal arts are only the humanities like English and history. In reality, liberal arts is a philosophy of education. Liberal arts degrees integrate the arts and sciences to provide students with a holistic approach to learning and interdisciplinary problem-solving.
At a liberal arts institution like Regent University, you will have the opportunity to explore various disciplines from cybersecurity to theatre while developing skills that will make you attractive to employers. Employers are looking for creative students and critical thinkers with other soft skills verified by a liberal arts degree.
Attending a liberal arts university will prepare you to do more than one specific job, meaning that your career options will be expansive.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities found employers from various industries view skills honed through a liberal arts program like critical thinking, analysis, communication through writing, and teamwork as very important for career success.3
5. Choosing a Major Determines Your Career and Salary
Choosing a major is not indicative of your career or salary. Your major can branch into various career paths. English majors can become outstanding marketers. An education degree can turn into instructional development for Fortune 500 corporations.
Don’t be led astray by advice saying that you should follow the money. While there is undoubtedly a need for professionals trained in fields like STEM and healthcare, there are also pathways for others degrees—ones you might not even think of.
You are on a path that is entirely your own. What might be true for someone you admire might not be true for you. Not every career path is a straight shot from graduation, either. Trust in your training and continue to build upon it with new experiences and skills. Choosing a major is only the start of a lifelong journey of learning.
If you need help figuring out what degree is right for you, Regent University is here to help! The Academic Advising team is here to help you, whether you seek a traditional on-campus experience, online, or something in between. Your future is shaped by the choices you make today. Request information.
1. Pedler, M. L. (2021). A sense of belonging at university student retention, motivation and enjoyment. Taylor & Francis Online. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2021.1955844
2. National Center for Education Statistics. (2017). Beginning college students who change their majors within 3 years of enrollment. U.S. Department of Education. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018434.pdf
3. Association of American Colleges and Universities. How college contributes to workforce success. Hanover Research. https://www.aacu.org/research/how-college-contributes-to-workforce-success