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Should You Switch Your Major?

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Going to university is an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself, harness your full potential, and prepare you for a successful career in the future.

But if you’re not happy with what you’re doing and your gut is telling you something’s wrong, it’s time to explore other options.

Switching majors is a rite of passage in your life as a university student, and is quite a common practice. After all, most teenagers don’t know what they want to eat for dinner, let alone what they really want to be when they grow up. Here are some factors to consider if this decision has been weighing on your mind.

Know the signs. 

Were you heavily influenced by your parents when you decided on a major? Did you choose it based on profit instead of passion? Do you have zero interest in what’s being taught in your classes? Do you find yourself always complaining about school — not just the workload, but the nature of the assignments and lectures?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, set aside time for self-reflection while at your University of Waterloo residence to decide on what to pursue while in university.

Know the cons. 

Changing your major should never be done on a whim, however. Your graduation might be delayed, and tuition costs could rack up. Would you be okay with staying at school for a longer period of time? Can you afford the additional tuition fees, any added Laurier off-campus housing costs for longer stays, and the daily expenses?

Do you think you can find happiness even if you stick with your current degree? If so, perhaps you can simply add a minor to your current major. This is an especially viable solution if you’re a junior or senior and already have a ton of credits in your coursework.      

Change for the right reasons.

Changing majors should not be done lightly, so do it for the right reasons. Do you think that a challenging class or two is a valid enough reason to make the switch? If you think that another major would be easier, know that every major is challenging in their own way and will require considerable work.

If you’re having a difficult time, don’t assume right away that the major is wrong for you. You can take tutorial lessons from an expert or arrange study sessions with classmates. Finally, you can ask your academic advisor if it’s possible to lighten your load so you can focus on the more challenging classes.

Switch right away.

Waiting too long to decide on whether or not to switch, or on what major to take will cost you both time and money. So the sooner you make the change, the better.

Experts say that the best time to switch majors is after your first year. This should be more than enough time to determine where your passions lie. Do your research on the major you want to transfer to and look into career prospects with that major. If it’s something that excites you, then you’re at a good starting point.   

The decision is ultimately up to you. But before you decide, consult with an advisor who can guide you to the best major and help you make the change without losing too many academic credits.

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