What if I Change My Mind? Changing Majors on Campus
I have a confession to make. When I was in college, I changed my major five times. When I applied, I was sure I wanted to be a Special Education teacher. One class later, it became clear Elementary Education was a better fit. One semester later, English seemed like a better idea. Then I flip-flopped between English and Communications for awhile … Let’s just say I was generally unsure of what I wanted to do for about three years.
While I wish you all the smoothest of transitions to campus, the odds are some of you will have a similar experience (in fact, probably about half of you will change your major at some point on campus). You will come to Illinois, take a class, and realize the program isn’t what you thought it was. You will learn more about yourself, your goals, and what you enjoy. Really, that is what college is all about.
So now the real question: How do you change your major once you have changed your mind?
For most of you, the answer will be the Guide to Intercollegiate Transfer from the Office of the Provost. This handy little website breaks into detail exactly what classes, GPA, and other requirements each college has. It is important to remember, this is a useful tool, but it should be used in conjunction with talking to your college.
Some general notes to remember. Students will typically be required to stay enrolled in their admitted major for at least two semesters. So, if you decide after your first semester you want to change programs you will probably have to stick it out until the end of your freshman year. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to start taking classes you need to graduate from your other program. Your academic advisor will work with you to make sure you are ready to make the transition successfully, just remember, talking to them about these changes is key.
Another important note, some colleges have different processes than others. Business, for example, only takes transfer applicants in May of their freshman year. Many of our Education programs require students have the Test of Academic Proficiency (or ACT Plus Writing/SAT at TAP levels)—more reasons to make sure you are looking at the specific program you want to change into in advance.
Finally, keep in mind the process does occasionally change. This is why it is important to continue checking both the Guide and working with your college so you are aware when this happens. A great example of this is transfer into the College of Engineering. They are moving to using the Pre-Engineering Program (PREP) as the pathway into the college. Those of you interested in this path may want to check out Andy’s blog.
BUT WAIT! I am ready to change now.
Great. It is possible to change your major prior to coming to campus as well (info is available in our FAQ). The key here is to make sure you reach out to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions prior to submitting your Program Change Form through your myIllini account. Submitting this form means you give up your place in your current program to be considered as a late applicant for your new program. Admissions can give you a better idea of how successful this is likely to be.
Until next time!