Nobody else is undeclared.
Starting college as undeclared is normal. It’s a great idea to
intentionally explore your options. With over 200 major options and
nearly as many minors, you’ll want expert help finding your major ‘fit’.
Approximately 15-20% of all incoming students start in
Exploration (EXP). You are in good company and will have a lot of
support to help you assess yourself, major and career options, and come
to a decision. Don’t try to figure this out alone, meet with your
Studies estimate that up to 75% of students entering college change their major before graduation.
There is a test that will tell me my perfect major.
We utilize self-assessment inventories in Exploration as one of
many tools and options for exploring yourself and majors. There is no
one test or inventory that will point you to your ’best’ major. To
narrow your options and select a major, you can use a combination of
inventory results along with the survey class taken your first semester,
regular meetings with an advisor, and with major research you complete
I know what I don’t want to do, but not what I want to do.
That’s a start! Some students will start with a list of things
that excite them the most while others will methodically cross off
majors that don’t appeal to them. Either way, you are narrowing the
list from over 200 to a more manageable number. The next step, in
either case, is to see what the majors you like and don’t like have in
common and how they are different. Sometimes seeing the underlying
connections between your shorter lists helps give direction as well.
Students who start undeclared take longer to graduate.
This is not true at Ohio State. Students who receive support
and assistance in selecting a major are just as likely as their peers to
graduate in a timely manner, and typically less than 2% of students who
start in EXP return to Exploration after declaring a major.
Both of these markers are evidence that solid advising and relationship
building help our students stay on track for the degrees they select.
"The greatest thing about the Exploration program for me was
that even though I felt as though I was wasting time, I realize now
that I was saving so much money and not wasting ANY time. I declared my
major and it looks like I will be graduating right on time. I was just
taking a different approach from my friends!"
"This program allows students to explore their possibilities but also have the ability to graduate on time."
If I don’t know I want a certain major when I start, I might not be able to get into it later.
This is not true! You would be entering as a pre-major for most
competitive majors you can select from on your application. Students
who start in Exploration have the same opportunities to apply to majors
as students who start in the pre-major programs. Our students declare
majors in every college and school at Ohio State. We work closely with
colleges to ensure that students in Exploration have similar course
access to students in majors and pre-majors.
I should decide my major as soon as possible.
For most degree programs at Ohio State, you can declare your
major during or after your second year and be on track for degree: about
half of our students declare at the end of the first year and the other
half declare at the end of the second year. Sometimes adding pressure
to choose a major quickly makes it harder for students to decide (and
can increase your chances of picking a major you’ll change out of
later), so talk with your advisor and set realistic goals for when you
will select a major. We do limit student time in EXP, and your advisor
will also contact you at the end of each semester to remind you how much
time you have left to declare a major and to offer guidance.
"I actually preferred not coming in with a major because I
was able to see what all of Ohio State has to offer. Explore your
different options and be willing to be flexible when deciding what you
want to do."
I don’t want to give anything up.
If you have a lot of interests, picking a major can feel like
you are letting go of all your other dreams. There are several ways to
combine programs and often you can tailor a major to also explore your
passions or create thematic areas through your general education course
selections. Most majors have room for and will require electives, so
you can continue to take classes and explore all of your interests, even
if they aren’t part of the major you select. You can also look at
student organizations and other involvement to stay connected.
Picking a major is basically the same as selecting a career.
Majors and careers are connected but they are not the same.
Some degrees intend to lead students to a specific career field, like
nursing or engineering. As a liberal arts institution, Ohio State
prepares students in all majors to be responsible citizens and focuses
on building a broad skill base that provides students with a wide of
variety of job placement and career options.
My entire career will be determined by my major.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that baby boomers
on average changed jobs 11 times. The reality is, every major at Ohio
State is going to open up more options to you than you might have
without a degree. Rather than thinking of majors as limiting, remember
that they provide you with additional intellectual and career
It is likely that you will switch jobs during your lifetime,
and you may even switch careers. There will be careers in the future
that don’t exist now, and your liberal arts education will give you the
transferrable skills needed to adjust to changing and new career