Having a hard time deciding on a second-choice major? Click here!

Picture this: You’re filling out your application for the University of Illinois and you come to the part where you have to pick a major. You pick your first choice major without a problem. But then, you’re asked if you’d like to choose a second-choice major.

Freshmen

First of all, let’s talk about the benefits of choosing a second-choice major.

Here at Illinois, we strongly recommend that you select a second-choice major, especially if you’re applying into one of our competitive programs such as Engineering or Business. If you’re not admissible to your first choice major, you’ll be reviewed for your second-choice major. If you’re still not admissible, you’ll be considered for all other avenues of admission. That’s a lot of different ways to get admitted to Illinois.

But what happens if you don’t select a second-choice major? If you opt-out of selecting a second-choice major you will only be considered for your first choice major. We would only recommend doing this if you’re 100% sure you will not be attending Illinois if you’re not admitted to your first choice major.

Most students spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to major in but not a lot of time thinking about a Plan B. If you’re struggling to come up with a second-choice major, my first piece of advice would be to keep an open mind and take a look at our list of majors by interest area. You may find majors in other colleges on our campus that fit your interests and goals.

If you’re still unsure of selecting a declared major, you can select the Undeclared program in the Division of General Studies (DGS) as your second-choice major.

Something to keep in mind, is that not all majors are available as a second-choice major and that the list of unavailable majors varies depending on if you’re a freshman or a transfer applicant. You can see the full list of unavailable majors here.

Transfers

First of all, let’s talk about the benefits of choosing a second-choice major.

Here at Illinois, we strongly recommend that you select a second-choice major, especially if you’re applying into one of our competitive programs such as Engineering or Business. If you’re not admissible to your first choice major, you’ll be reviewed for your second-choice major.

But what happens if you don’t select a second-choice major? If you opt-out of selecting a second-choice major you will only be considered for your first choice major. We would only recommend doing this if you’re 100% sure you will not be attending Illinois if you’re not admitted to your first choice major.

Be sure to keep in mind that you still need to satisfy the requirements of your second-choice major. These requirements can be found on the Transfer Handbook.

Most students spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to major in but not a lot of time thinking about a Plan B. If you’re struggling to come up with a second-choice major, my first piece of advice would be to keep an open mind and take a look at our list of majors by interest area. You may find majors in other colleges on our campus that fit your interests and goals.

Something to keep in mind is that not all majors are available as a second-choice major and that the list of unavailable majors varies depending on if you’re a freshman or a transfer applicant. You can see the full list of unavailable majors here.

Transfer applicants may list the Undeclared program in DGS as their second choice major but keep in mind that DGS gives preference to students with fewer than 35 transferable hours by the term of entry to DGS.

If you still have questions, you can read through our second-choice major FAQ or comment down below.

*Me responding to all of your comments*

Comments

Please note that comments close after 90 days.

vijay song

October 18, 2018, 2:36 am

Thank you for your detailed explanation.

If the first choice major does not require a portfolio, but the second choice major requires a portfolio, do I still need to submit a portfolio?

Thank you in advance.

 

Zoe Kudla-Polay

October 19, 2018, 9:01 am

Hi Vijay,

Yes, if one of the majors you apply to requires a portfolio you should be submitting that in order to be fully considered.

Zoe

 

vanessa

November 7, 2018, 4:48 pm

Hi Zoe,

Will the university automatically consider students for their second choice major if they are not admitted to their first-choice? and during the review process, will people declaring the same major as first-choice and second-choice major be given the same amount of consideration? Thanks!

 

Zoe Kudla-Polay

November 8, 2018, 10:33 am

Hi Vanessa,
Yes, we will automatically consider applicants for their second-choice major if they’re not admissible to their first-choice major.

No, we give preference to students who list the major as their first-choice over those who list it as their second-choice major.

Zoe