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Why it’s okay to start off as “undeclared”

Posted By Ned Jones | September 5, 2014

What are you going to major in? That’s a question you will hear often during your college search. If the thought of deciding that now has your head spinning, you’re not alone. With so many choices out there—from accounting to political science, biochemistry, history and beyond—it’s no wonder that nearly half of our students enter as undeclared. Nervous this puts you at a disadvantage? Well, guess what…

It’s more than okay! Here at Siena, we embrace those students who haven’t yet picked a major, because, in fact, it’s a great thing to start out undeclared. Here’s why.

Undeclared

It gives you more time to choose wisely. We asked career counselor and author of Stuff You Already Know … And Everybody Should, Gina DeLapa, for her take on the undeclared student. “I honestly think being undecided in the beginning is an asset, not a liability,” she said. “Students might be surprised at how employers view college majors. For example, I’ve met a lot of hiring managers in advertising who say they don’t hire advertising majors—many prefer English or marketing students. So it behooves the student, whether or not it’s a formal requirement, to do their research before choosing a major.”

And in the meantime, you’d get to explore more topics. As long as you declare a major with enough time to graduate in four years, this time of exploration can be valuable. By learning a wide range of subjects and diving into the core requirements, you’d become well rounded and free up the remainder of your college career for what you’re really passionate about—and that said, you’d be less likely to switch majors in the middle.

You’d also get to meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise. Because you’d be taking a variety of classes to determine your path, you’d get to know faculty and peers you wouldn’t have met if you weren’t undeclared. And who knows? One of those professors may become a mentor, regardless of the major you choose. And some of those students may become your best friends.

Lastly, employers won’t even know. Take it from someone who can prove that: a headhunter. Jackie Ducci, president of the New York-based recruiting firm Ducci & Associates, told us: “In my many years of experience placing candidates at all levels of employment (from entry to C-suite), I have never encountered a situation where someone experienced a roadblock in the hiring process because they once declared an ‘undecided’ major.” Frankly, she said, that kind of information would never be considered or brought to light in the first place, since the job search process begins during or after a student’s senior year. “By that point, they will not only have a specific major, but also a degree (or very close to it). No recruiter or potential employer would find when that major was declared to have any significance.” 

There you have it—it’s not a bad thing at all to be undeclared. Our advice, if you plan on going that route, would be to choose a college like Siena that provides students with a broad range of subjects to explore and guidance along the way.

See what it's like to be undeclared at Siena College!

 
 

TOPICS: Academics, Admissions Info & Advice

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3 Reasons Why Being Undecided is a Smart Choice