Should students apply to university with degree majors in mind?
As your students fill out their applications to American universities, they’ll sometimes notice a section asking what they plan to take as their major.
Understandably, it can be a little alarming. Students haven’t had a chance to experience undergraduate classes in these subjects, let alone work out which one they prefer!
But many students feel pressured to fill in this section, especially as some advice suggests it increases their chances of acceptance.
As with many things, there’s not really a clear-cut one-size-fits all answer. Aside from the fact that every student is different, even admissions officers vary in what they think about applications with declared majors.
For example, Nancy Meislahn, the Dean of Admission & Financial Aid at Wesleyan University, urged students: “PLEASE resist the pressure to pick a major to make the college [application] process easier… Tell admission officers about ALL the things that interest you. We seek curious and creative students, well-prepared to explore across the curriculum.”
On the other hand, Christopher Rim, founder and CEO of Command Education, argued that students should declare a major when applying to university, as it gives a clearer impression of who they are and how they’ll contribute to university life. "You want the admissions officer to read your application and understand how you would fit into that campus community or into that class."
There are pros and cons to both options, so students shouldn’t fret about which they go for! Rather than trying to predict what universities would prefer, they should be guided simply by whether they do have a firm idea of what they want to major in, and good reasons behind it.