It's OK to Come to College Undecided

Northwestern College students meet in a small group.

College-bound students face a lot of pressure. Beyond finishing high school, applying for scholarships and completing college applications, there’s the ever-present question, “What are you going to major in?”

Despite the pressure to have life planned out at age 18, it’s truly OK to enter college undecided on your major.

You’re not alone
Research shows 20 to 50% of students enter college with an undecided major, and more than 30% end up changing their major before they graduate.

That means a high percentage of students are still exploring their options throughout the first years of college. And they’re not doing this alone. Most colleges offer support services on campus to help students determine their areas of interest and define their strategy for choosing a major.

Beginning in the first year, the  Compass Center for Career and Calling at  Northwestern College works with students to help them assess their personality, strengths, interests and values—knowledge that’s invaluable when choosing a major and matching one’s skills with a potential career. It’s our goal to help students get to know themselves better and discern the options they have for using the gifts God has uniquely given them.

Take time to explore
Entering college undecided gives you time to find your true areas of passion and gifting. As an undecided major, you can take classes in various disciplines to assess which one feels like a good fit for you. Additionally, there are many opportunities outside the classroom that can help you clarify your field of interest. Interview people who work in fields that interest you. Participate in a job shadow, mentorship or internship program. The more experiences you pursue, the more equipped you’ll be to determine the major that’s best for you.

At  Northwestern College, professors want students to gain an excellent liberal arts education and graduate when planned. They work hard to help students choose classes strategically and complete the credits necessary to still finish on time—even when students come to college undecided on a major. We’re proud that 86% of our graduates complete their degree in four years or less.

You are more than your major
Your degree will qualify you for a lot of things in life. Employers are looking for people with both skills and experiences that are valuable, transferable and marketable. If you come to college with a commitment to learn and grow, every experience you have will teach you something and help guide you toward your ultimate area of focus and calling in life. As you begin choosing a major, ask yourself, “What kinds of things can I do with this degree?” Look for ways you can take advantage of all the opportunities the college offers to gain real-world experience in your field. Seek out unique ways to grow in using what you are learning for your future career—and for your life outside your job.

Students who attend Northwestern stand out in their fields due to the wide variety of opportunities to gain real-world experience early on in their college years. Their ability to use what they learn in the classroom and apply it firsthand throughout their college career makes them well-rounded people and more marketable to employers.

Coming to college undecided could be your best decision. Being undecided opens up unlimited opportunities to explore, learn, grow and define your future in ways you may not have imagined. Take time to consider your best path and make each experience count along the way.

Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, equips students to embark on their calling by helping them explore their interests, develop their skills and experience hands-on learning. We invite you to learn more at