When we graduate, we throw our caps up in the air in hopes that we are going to go on to bigger and brighter things.

But before that day, we often ask ourselves what we want to do with our lives. And will my chosen major lead me to a career?

There are students who choose their major very early, perhaps in high school or their freshman year of college. But for many college students, switching majors is always a consideration.

It’s great we have the freedom to change majors, but is changing your major always the best choice?

Changing majors late in the game can cost students valuable opportunities to gain experience and make connections. It also costs both time and money that can never be regained. Employers are not going to look to see if you majored in the field and just hand you a job based on that alone.

That giant company you dreamed of working for may require five years of experience to even intern there. How can a student who changes their major expect to gain that experience without taking a decade to complete their undergrad?

On the other hand, if you go into a major just because you think it will guarantee you a job, you may be disappointed with the end result. Flipping burgers and waiting tables can both be accomplished with a business degree. And federal grants are only available on your first undergraduate degree – having to go back to school to pursue your true passion will come out of your wallet.

As of 2010, the Department of Education had 1,500 academic programs reported to them; 355 were added in the past 10 years. With so many options, many students fall into the “grass is greener” mentality and change majors without doing the research.

According to Avoid these 3 pitfalls when considering switching majors, an article published by USA Today, not doing the research is one of the biggest mistakes students make before they switch majors. The article advises students to take the time to understand exactly what types of courses the new major requires to make sure they’re not setting themselves up for trouble. It also advises students to connect with students in the major they’re considering, and ask them to share their experiences with that major. This is important to remember because if you decide to switch to something you think better fits you, the transition may not be as smooth as you thought.

About 80 percent of college students in the United States change their major at least once, and on average they change their major at least three times before graduation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Don’t be part of the statistics of students changing majors so flippantly. Hold off on picking a major until you are certain. Become certain by doing the research. And once you pick a major, stick with it. Make connections, get involved, and gain experience in your field.

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