6 months ago
Admissions Advice

Changing majors


I was wondering if it was possible to change your major after you chose one while admission.

if yes, is it possible to get admission into a less sought after major then switch to a highly sought after one midyear?.

I was wondering this if one did not be as qualified for a highly sought after major in a prestigious university but got admitted into a lesser sought after one?

Example: suppose you get into a college with biology which has a high acceptance rate then switch to computer science which is extremely competitive.

I hope my question makes sense.

thanks in advance!

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
6 months ago

I think it depends on how competitive the college is you are applying to. If you are applying to Carnegie Mellon U. for Arts and Sciences and try to apply to the Engineering school for CS, you are going to find it very difficult or impossible because it's the best CS school in the country and the admissions criteria are different for the CMUs 4 or 5 different colleges. But if you apply to a small liberal arts college like Vassar or Colgate and get in an English major, I don't think it's hard to switch majors to Biology or CS or PolySci.

If a college is known for its prestigious CS program like Stanford, then you have to be very patient about when you can transfer from Linguistics to CS. You might have to take a lot of programming electives for 2 years before they believe you are qualified to transfer into their CS department. So I've heard that XYZ Consulting has "paying" clients who did this very thing. They knew upfront that CS as Stanford is the most popular major and the most competitive one. Their client was an Asian Male and the consultants could tell from his transcript, GPA, test scores, that he wouldn't get into the CS major, so they scripted a 2-year plan to turn him into a linguistics major (something not very popular). They had him self-study 2 more languages and do some research work in Linguistics with a Stanford professor. And he applied to Stanford and got in as a Linguistics major. After 2 years of moonlighting as a CS major by taking a lot of programming electives on the side, he successfully made the switch to CS.

So it's possible but you can't assume that it's a "lay-up" to do so. Rather, it might take some serious strategic changes to your narrative, your college essays, your ECs, and your HS course work to convince an Admissions Officers you are what you say you are.

6 months ago

Some colleges have things called “impacted majors” where the only way to have that major is to declare it when applying. If that is not the case with the major you are considering, then I think you should be fine if there’s space. Keep in mind that college students switching majors is more common than you may think!

6 months ago

It is not very likely, an admissions counselor from a meeting I went to said that that it would be even harder than just applying to the first more competitive major. This is likely because if you try to switch most if not all available seats are full with students that applied directly.


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