The Pros and Cons of Going into College Undecided

Sometimes you just can’t figure out what you want to do with your life before college starts and that’s okay. We are all trying to figure out what direction to go with our life, for college major, and future careers at such a young age and it is normal to not have it all figured out.

The question is is it better to apply undecided or with a major? It’s straight forward if you know what you want to do then declare your major. If you do not know what you want to do then go in undecided. We discuss more in depth below the pros and cons of being undecided.

Originally when I applied to college, I applied as undecided.

I didn’t change it until right before the start of my freshman year. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do or career to go for so I figured that it would be better for me to just apply everywhere as undecided.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with going in as undecided but the sooner that you know what you want to do the better. As soon as you know what you want to do you should declare your major; don’t waste any time in that area.

Some people get very worried about going into college undecided, so they just pick anything that they think might interest them. You want to be somewhat sure about your major before you declare it even though you do have many opportunities to change.

Don’t just pick something because you don’t want to be undecided.

There is no right or wrong answer of what to do and every person who has been in this type of situation has different experiences as going into college undecided or picking a last-minute major.

Just know that you have plenty of time in college to figure out what you love and what you are good at so don’t be afraid if you are going in as undecided or if you aren’t too sure about your major.

What Does Choosing Undecided Mean?

Basically choosing undecided as your major or path simply means that you want a college degree, but you simply don’t know what you want to specialize in, many schools also give the opportunity to specify if you are undecided in a specific part of the college.

This means that if you know you want to be in business, but you aren’t sure what part, you would be business undecided. This is very nice because then you will hopefully be taking classes that will all count towards whatever major you choose.

As an undecided student, you take general education courses and classes from different majors you show interest in until you finally decide what major you actually want to choose.

Is Undecided the Same as Exploration?

The answer to this question is yes.

Some schools just simply call an undecided major an exploration major and they mean the exact same thing. Anything I mentioned above applies if your school has an exploration major.

Sometimes schools will even say that the undecided major is in the school of exploration.

It is all just different wording and means the same thing. Pay attention to this because you might be getting nervous if you are filling out an application and don’t see the option for undecide because it is under exploration.

You will have to declare a major at some time in your college career because you cannot graduate with an undecided major.

Does Every School Have This Option?

I cannot be sure that every college and university has this option, but every college that I have applied to or my friends have gone to or applied to has had this option.

Just from the talks that I have had with fellow classmates, employees, and my university faculty I am going to assume that most colleges have this option.

The reason for this is because they want everyone to have the opportunity to start a college degree even if they don’t know exactly what they want to do. It is the perfect time to get all of your general education classes out of the way especially if you didn’t come into college with any credits.


More Diversity

One good thing about starting as undecided is that you will have a lot more diversity in your classes the first few semesters. It can get very routine if you are taking all the classes for your major and general education classes.

As an undecided major you will still be walking all over campus and having classes with several different colleges within your university. This could have a really positive impact on your focus and stamina your first few semesters because it may help you enjoy and be more open to learning.

You May Find a Passion You Wouldn’t Have

I have heard so many stories from students and faculty about going in as undecided and finding a passion they never knew they had.

Basically, because they took a class as an undecided major, they figured out what they wanted to major in and have as a career in that field of study. If they had just chosen some random major to be safe, they probably wouldn’t have ever had the opportunity to schedule this class and wouldn’t have figured out that this is what they wanted to do.

Just remember this if you are unsure about going in as undecided.

You Get to Try Out Every Major You’re Interested In

This is the only chance as a college student that you would actually have a chance to try a class from every major that you are even slightly interested in. if you have already declared a major, they are basically going to tell you a multitude for classes that you have to take.

This will give you free rein to really engage yourself and enjoy what classes you are taking.

This is also a good opportunity to show you what you don’t want to do. You may take a class and realize that you would never choose something similar to that as a career and even though you hate the class it is very helpful because you can cross that major off your list.


You Take Classes That Will End Up Not Counting Towards Your Major

Most colleges are very specific about what classes count towards what majors and what classes are required for each major. This is why you may have some credits from high school that only transferred as electives and not towards anything specific towards your major.

This basically means that the credit hours still count in your overall number of credit hours but that you will still need to take all the classes required for your major. This just causes you to maybe have to take more classes than the average student.

Some classes count for general education courses in specific majors and they don’t for others.

It Could Cause you to Graduate Late

The one bad thing about this is that because you are taking so many classes that don’t count towards your major, you will still have to take every class that is required for your major and it may cause to graduate late.

Now there is absolutely no time limit to when you should graduate however it may cause you to have to stay longer than your initial four years.

If this is not a problem for you then don’t worry about it all.

Another thing to go along with this is that if you are attending college an extra year, that also means that you are paying for college an extra year. Overall it really could just cost you more time and money.

However, if it helps you find a career that you enjoy and are good at, it could be worth it.

It Could Confuse You Further

This rarely happens, however, there is always a chance that taking all of the classes in different majors as an undecided student may not actually help you, it may confuse you further. If you ended up not choosing classes that worked out for you or that you enjoyed, you may feel even more lost or confused.

There are no worries though because college gives you plenty of time, help, and resources to figure this out. They also give you an advisor who you can always talk about this with.


Overall there is no right or wrong answer to whether it is a good idea to go in as an undecided major. It is different for everyone and really depends on what you personally want to do. There have been many success stories though so don’t stress yourself out too much about it. If you are interested in taking many different courses in many different areas, then this is definitely the right decision for you.

Once again this is the most freedom in choosing classes that you may ever have as a college student because you don’t have any specific classes you have to take. Just make sure that you are prepared to maybe have to go to school for a few extra semesters if needed and if you didn’t have any previous credits coming into college from high school.

Just worry about you, yourself, and your own needs. If this sounds like something you want or need to do, then there should be nothing stopping you.

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