There’s nothing wrong with change

Most college students will change their major at least once during their academic career, if not several times. I thought I was so sure about my ambitions and would never fall under this statistic, but rest assured – it’s nothing to panic about and doesn’t make you any less ambitious just because you are a little uncertain. In fact, after a little research from several different sources anywhere from 50-70% of students will change their major. If you don’t fall anywhere within this range, then I’m pretty sure this means that you know someone that does. Whatever it takes to get from point A to point B, no matter what that point may be, there is no one conventional route to take. Sometimes you’ll find yourself lost at a detour when you thought your shiny foolproof plan had bought you an express ticket. With careful thought and deep consideration, it’s okay to change your route and destination.

Everyone has their story. Some people came into university without having given too much thought to it or are influenced into certain fields they really aren’t suited for. Some may have done unsatisfactorily in the courses for their major which forced them to re-evaluate if it was what they really wanted in the first place. Others are completely gung-ho about one subject but later on change interests along the way. Many people find themselves unsure because they have several interests and can’t pin it down to just one or two things. Whatever your dilemma may be, it comes down to self-reflection, discovery and prioritization. Changing majors can rack up your tuition and time in university which we all know is expensive and valuable.

Here’s my story:

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I applied to U of T intending to major in Architecture. When it came time for registration, though, I didn’t even register for a single architecture class. In the window of time between university applications (November – December) and class registration (July - August), I had given some time and thought into what I truly wanted to do, but ultimately never really knew until I actually started school and tested the waters in post-secondary schooling.

First year came and went and after taking courses from a wide variety of different subjects I settled into a couple of subject PoSts that interested me, but weren’t the ones I had intended on to begin with. I always tried to find out how to do things my own way. Maybe I wasn’t taking a direct route, but things I learned along the way would benefit me and at least I was interested.

It didn’t stop there though. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but I’d like to think my curiosity allowed me to thrive and experience new things. This year I registered in courses outside of my major that seemed irrelevant but were actually quite interesting and useful. It was a little intense to juggle different extremes since I was jumping from different academic fields doing things like analyzing market and industry graphs in economics, applying the principles of ethics in everyday life in philosophy and interpreting modern works of art in art history. With each course I was forced to set my mind in different modes. Although it was tiring, it was a fun challenge that allows me to apply the skills I learned in each subject to the rest of my academic career.

I truly think this is why U of T put the breadth requirements into the curriculum in order to obtain a degree. It’s one thing to be an expert in a certain field, but to be an expert that is well-rounded and can form connections from other fields is certainly even more significant and relevant.

So if you’re thinking about changing your major, it can be a smooth or sudden transition, especially if you doing something along the same lines or something completely different. Before you jump into it whole-heartedly you should talk to other people in the program, make visits to your college registrar or faculty departments and ask yourself deep down if you really want a change. Take a look at program requirements and see if it is something do-able. You don’t have to jump in right away, you can take a course or two to see if it truly is right for you.

- Danielle

7 comments on “There’s nothing wrong with change

  1. thanks for the advice! I have been thinking about changing from life sci to philosophy for some time and i know exactly what you mean about having to put your mind in different modes. I’m thinking of enrolling in a few courses and then deciding from there if it’s right for me.

  2. Thanks for this post! I am currently first year in political science and I am thinking to switch majors into Engineering. DO you have any tips/ideas for me. I know its a big jump, but I’ve realized its what I deem as right. I will be getting in contact with my registrar as soon as exam period is over, to take any required (high school) credits this summer so that I can start my new program in September, if not a smelter later in January 2015.
    I am soooo nervous!

    1. Hi Abby,

      Congrats on recognizing what you’d like to do! Switching into Engineering from Arts and Science will be a bit less straightforward than most major changes, as you’ll also be changing faculties. It looks like you’ll have to fill out an internal transfer application (, though your registrar will know more about this. If you haven’t already, definitely make that appointment with your registrar – they’ll be able to help you with all of the administrative steps to take.

      I’d also recommend researching the Engineering program as much as you can before you commit to make sure the program is what you want. They’re having tours of the engineering faculty over the summer (, which will also be a great opportunity to meet students currently in the program and pick their brains about what the program is like.

      Best of luck!


  3. Hi Danielle!

    Like you, I applied to UofT thinking I wanted to go into one field (sociology) at the time, but I’ve recently thought it over for a while and I want to switch to an entirely different field(s).

    My question is: Did they really not care at all that you didn’t take the introductory classes for architecture even though that’s what you applied there for? Because I want to take classes in spanish and law and english, but those aren’t even in social sciences.

    1. Hey Gabi,

      Danielle is no longer blogging for Life at U of T, but I’m a different Danielle who is, and I hope I can answer your question!

      I can’t speak for exactly what happened with Danielle, but here’s what I know – excepting some programs, you don’t enter U of T selecting a major; rather, you take courses in first year and then you register for majors and minors (subject POSts) after first year is over.

      So you certainly don’t have to go right into sociology – you can take first-year courses in your interests, and in sociology too if you want to try it out, and see what seems to feel right. Just bear in mind prerequisites for programs you’re interested in. Then you can apply for your program at the end of the year!

      And here’s another tip to keep in mind – you can switch programs at any point! So if in second year, you don’t feel like you’re in the right place, you can switch it up.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  4. Hi

    This page looks very helpful. I am currently enrolled in UofT for engineering. It is August, and I want to switch into life sciences at UofT for September. Is it too late for me to switch into life sciences? Do I have to wait a year or can I withdraw from engineering and get into life sciences on time.

  5. If I was accepted for Life Science. Can I switch from Life Sciences to Nursing in my first year or after my first year.

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