#052 – Undecided Students: Is Your Student Ready to Decide on a Major?

20-50% of students enter college undecided about a major. That’s a lot of students! In this episode Vicki and Lynn unpack some of the reasons students may not be ready to make a decision, some myths about undecided students, and some of the questions parents can ask to help their student take control of the process of exploring options. Being an exploratory student may be the best option for some and will help relieve a bit of the pressure on students to make this decision before they are ready.

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So many students enter college undecided about a major, and they have so many reasons.  We often worry that our student won’t find direction or be able to finish college if they are undecided, and students worry as well.

In this episode we suggested thinking about why your student may be undecided.  Vicki shared four statements and suggested that you see if any of these sound familiar.

  • “I have no idea what I want to do.”
  • “I’m interested in everything and I can’t narrow it down.”
  • “I have some idea of what I’m interested in, but I’m not sure.”
  • “I want to do X but everyone expects me to do Y.”

We also shared some myths about being undecided that students may believe.

  • “I’ll just figure it out eventually.”
  • “I’m the only one who doesn’t have a plan.”
  • “Once I’ve chosen a major, I won’t be able to change.”
  • “When I choose a major I’ll have chosen a career for my entire life.”

Vicki shared some information about “multipotentiality” and the work of Emilie Wapnick.  If you’d like to learn more about her work, check out her book and her TED talk.

How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who Still Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

TED Talk: Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling

We also mentioned decision paralysis and how students are overwhelmed by too many choices.  If you want to learn more about this theory check out the book that we mentioned.

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Dr. Barry Schwartz

If you’d like to follow up on some of these topics, here are some articles that may help.

Should Being Undecided About a Major Matter When Choosing a College

Why Your Undecided Student May Be Drifting

Helping Your Undecided Student Find Direction

How to Support Your Undecided Student and Help Them Find Direction

Should My Student Choose a Double Major in College?

When Your College Student Changes Majors

Should My College Student Select a Minor?

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