Choose a Second Major! Seriously.

Hello all!

As some of you may have noticed, our application process has changed a bit this year. Let’s talk about it.

In the past, students were asked to apply for their first choice program or the Division of General Studies (DGS) if they were undecided (second choice was available for Engineering students only). When reviewing files (in the past), we considered students for:

  1. Their first choice,
  2. Second choice (listed only by Engineering students),
  3. Related majors and the Division of General Studies. All students were automatically considered for all avenues of admission.

go on

Starting this year, all students are encouraged to choose a second choice program! How will this influence the review process? Let me tell you.

  1. Students will be considered for the 1st choice program. If they aren’t admitted there, the process continues. If you don’t list a 2nd choice, you will not be considered for other options. You will only be considered for 1 major.
  2. Students will be considered for the 2nd choice program. If they aren’t admitted there, the process continues
  3. Students will be considered for the Division of General Studies (DGS) and all other avenues of admission.

So, what’s different you ask? All students get to tell us what else you would like to be considered for! You’ll notice in the old process (with the exception of Engineering applicants), we were making that decision for you. Now, you get much more agency; how great is that?! Consequently, we STRONGLY ENCOURAGE all students to list a second choice program.


Common Concerns:

  1. Listing a second choice does not hurt your chances of getting into your first choice.
  2. Yes, you should always list a second choice (unless you’re applying to DGS… that’s undecided)
  3. If the two majors you’re applying to are similar, your essays may also be very similar. That’s ok!
  4. You’ll notice that some majors can be listed as 1st choice, but not 2nd. This is due to the competitive nature of that particular program.
  5. If you don’t list a 2nd choice, you will not be considered for other options. You will only be considered for 1 major.

Want to know more? Check out our FAQ, ask below or email us:!



Please note that comments close after 90 days.

Bill sieczkowski

September 6, 2015, 7:08 pm

If my son is considering engineering and does not know for sure which, is he better off picking a major or going in undecided? Does undecided hurt his chance if admission to Engineering?



September 8, 2015, 9:58 am

Hello Bill,

If your son is interested in Engineering, but not sure which area, he does have the option to apply for First Year Engineering Undecided. I would encourage him to list that as his first choice and then consider DGS as a second choice.

Listing a second choice is in his best interest and will not have any influence on admission to his first choice program.

I hope this helps!



September 9, 2015, 12:48 pm

So to follow up. Since my son is very interested in Engineering, is he best off to list 2 engineering disciplines as choice 1 and 2 (for example, Mechanical and Undecided) to increase his chances of getting into one of the Engineering disciplines or do all the Engineering disciplines have the same requirements and opening slots for freshman?

If he is not admitted into one of his 2 choices, will he automatically be considered for DGS? or does listing 2 choices limit his ability to “fall back” into DGS?



September 9, 2015, 3:43 pm

Hi Bill,

He can list two Engineering disciplines if he is interested in both areas. Most Engineering majors will have very similar admission standards. If he is not admissible to either area, he will still be considered for the Division of General Studies. I hope this helps. If you have further questions, I encourage you to call our office: 217.333.0302



September 30, 2015, 10:36 pm

Hi! Will it hurt my chances if I put DGS as my second choice? Also, typically when do students declare majors if they are in DGS?



October 1, 2015, 8:54 am

Hi Emily,

No matter what you put for your second choice, it will have zero negative impact on consideration for your first choice. DGS is a great option! Typically students stay in DGS for at least 1 year but no more than 2. Good luck!



Tiffany Dallas

October 1, 2015, 6:16 pm

Veronica Sue, I love that you popped up in a google search. Make us proud.



October 2, 2015, 8:50 am

Haha Tiffany!

Google searches are great. I will do my very best! 🙂


Guyoung Kim

October 30, 2015, 1:02 pm

I’m not sure which major would be the best for me, so I’m planning to apply as undeclared.
The question is, if I put DGS as my first choice, can I still pick a second choice?



November 2, 2015, 9:27 am


Thanks for checking. If you are choosing undeclared or DGS as a first choice, you won’t be putting a second choice.