Preparing for the Conversation
- Meet with a Career Coach: If you find yourself questioning your chosen path, schedule an appointment with a Career Coach! They have tools and resources to help you work through your decisions.
- Self-Reflect: Do an honest assessment of your personal interest and skill/affinity in the major and potential jobs.
- Questions to Ask: Am I passionate about the kind of classes I would take? Could I see myself happy in a career in ______?
- Do Your Homework: Look over courses in the new major and make sure you feel excited about them. Explore “typical” jobs for graduates of your major, looking at job sites like HandShake, Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, and Glassdoor.
- Questions to Ask: What kinds of jobs would I do with my major (and what is the market like for those jobs)? Will I need to go to graduate school? Is there funding available for graduate school in the new field? What kind of salary can I expect?
- Talk with Your Advisor (and Maybe the Financial Aid Office): Make sure that you speak with your advisor so you know how this change in major will affect your timeline to graduation. You’ll also want to know if the change will affect your scholarship or any loans. Finally, there are often pre-requisite courses that you will need to take immediately after changing your major. Make sure you know what these are and how it will affect your enrollment and registration.
- Questions to Ask: Will it take you longer to graduate? Will this affect any scholarships, loans or even my family’s willingness to contribute toward my education? Are there any scholarships for the new major that I can apply for? What pre-requisites will I take the first semester after switching?
- Plan and Anticipate Any Questions or Reactions from Family: Is everyone else in your family a doctor or an engineer and you want to be a sculptor? Anticipate some questions! Will your decision be considered controversial in your family? Consider how your family handles change and plan accordingly. Utilize your resources! If you think this could be a difficult conversation, practice it with your professor, academic advisor, career coach or success coach.
Having the Conversation
- Choose the Right Time: Depending on your family dynamics, the middle of a shared meal may be a great (or an inopportune) time to share the news that you’re considering changing (or have already changed) your major. It may be better or worse to tell everyone at the same time.
- Be Honest: Explain to your parents how you are feeling and why you want to change your major. Let them know about the research and reflection you’ve done.
- Tell Them Your Plan and Invite Them to be Excited With You: Share what you’re excited about for the future with the new major.
If you want to learn more about how normal it is to change your major, CLICK HERE!