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Changing Your Major

A change in your plan can occur for a variety of reasons. You may have been denied admision to your intended major or dropped from your current major. Or, simply, you mayhave discovered that your current major is not right for you. It may not be practical to change your major if you are a junior or senior in a major, especially if the new major will significantly lengthen the time it will take you to complete your degree. Two policies you need to consider include the following:

  • Why Change?
  • Transferrable Skills
  • Plan & Apply

Common reasons students change their plans include

A change in career focus or learning about a new career option.

If you are now interested in pursuing a different career, talk with a Career Counselor or Academic Advisor about ways that you could work toward your career goals. Questions to ask include the following:

  • Is there a way to pursue your new goal by adding a minor?
    • By changing sequences within your major?
    • By obtaining an internship?
    • By developing your transferable skills?
    • By going on to a graduate program of study?
  • Is a change of major an option for you at this point?

A desired major may not admit a student.

Because majors have limited space, students may not gain admission to a desired major. While that is disappointing, it may lead to a student finding a major that better suits his or her strengths and which he or she will enjoy. Take a look at more options.

Some students choose to work to improve their credentials and then reapply to the major they would like to enter, but there are no guarantees that a reapplication will lead to a different result.

Not being able to progress in your current major.

Students who do not meet requirements to continue in their majors or who are dismissed from a major should carefully consider their situations and explore their options. While it may be possible to reapply to a previous major, in some cases reapplication will not be an option. If you don't know whether or not you could reapply to your previous major, talk with your departmental academic advisor. If readmission to that major is not a possibility, it's time to look at other options.

If you are on academic probation, Project Success is designed to help you. As one part of the process, you will meet with your Academic Advisor, who can help you assess your current situation and your options.

Transferrable Skills

A transferable skill is a skill or ability acquired during any activity in life – jobs, classes, projects, hobbies, sports, internships, volunteer work, virtually anything that can be utilized in a different setting or while participating in a different activity.

Your transferable skills can be utilized to help you obtain the job you want in a field outside your major. Thus it is important that you be able to articulate the real world applications of your college experience, including the activities and the classes you have taken. Complete this activity for assistance on identifying your transferable skills.

As you approach your job search, be aware of the skills and qualities employers seek as listed below.

Skills that Employers in all Industries Seek

  • Analytical/problem solving/critical thinking skills
  • Flexibility/versatility skills
  • Communication/interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-starting/initiative skills
  • Teamwork/team player
  • Honesty/integrity/strong work ethic
  • Organizational/planning skills
  • Time management skills
  • Enthusiasm/motivation
  • Also important ... reading, writing, math, speaking, and listening skills

Top 10 Skills and Qualities Employers Seek

  • Communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Honesty/integrity
  • Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical skills
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
  • Motivation/initiative
  • Computer skills
  • Detail-oriented

Plan a Major Change

Want to know what would happen if you changed your major to Biology? Then Plan a Major Change is designed just for you! By reviewing these plans, you can discover what courses you would need if you changed your major. Log into My.IllinoisState.edu and click "Plan a Major Change" on the Academics tab.

Here are some tips for reviewing this information:

  • What you see in "Plan a Major Change" includes major course requirements ONLY. "Progress Towards My Degree" contains all the information you need regarding additional graduation requirements and general education requirements.
  • Many majors block courses for students who have been accepted into the department/school. You may not be able to take the courses in an area if you are not accepted into that specific degree program.
  • This information is meant to be a general guideline for you. Courses listed may have prerequisite requirements or need to be taken in a specific sequence. Make sure to meet with your academic advisor to determine your timeline to graduation based upon course sequencing as well as if you need a prerequisite course.

Applying to a New Major

Keep in mind that each major at Illinois State has its own unique application process and deadlines. Log into My.IllinoisState.edu to access our major/minor application change form. Once you've logged in, click on the "Academics" tab, then on the "Apply to My Program" link.

2016-09-28T10:20:46.921-05:00 2016