How choice of major affects college acceptance

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How choice of major affects college acceptance

A student often asks me, "should I apply to a certain major? Is that going to give me a better chance of getting in to a certain college?" And that answer is it depends on the college. Some colleges don't give any weight to major choice. So you could go undeclared. You could go into engineering. It doesn't matter. But there are other schools who are looking to fill underrepresented majors. So for example, if you have a real interest in forestry, I imagine there aren't that many students who want to do forestry. And if a school had that major, you might be able to stand out. But the key is you have to have a background and a demonstrated interest in it. For example, you wouldn't want to declare forestry if you hadn't taken biology or lived in a city and you had never seen a forest. That looks to an admissions office that you're trying to work the system. If you, however, really have an interest in something, sure. You can put it down as a declared major. Just know that there are certain programs that will want you to stay in that major for a certain amount of time. So if you're going to declare engineering at a certain school just because you think it's going to help you get in, but you have no interest in engineering, you might have to stay in that for a year or two before you're able to transfer. So you're going to want to look at each college you're applying to see what the requirements are. But at the end of the day it's all about being authentic. Put down what you're interested in, but if you don't know, it's totally okay to go in undeclared.
TEEN, Education, Applying to College

Watch Danny Ruderman's video on How choice of major affects college acceptance...


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Danny Ruderman

Independent College Counselor

Danny Ruderman is a nationally recognized college counselor whose mission is to help as many families as possible navigate the admissions process.  

The Fontana High School and Stanford grad is the author of The Ultimate College Acceptance System and creator of college counseling programs used by school districts across the U.S. and Fortune 500 companies. He is known for his huge forehead and helping students get into schools that really match their interests. His newest book, Top 100 Answers to Your College Admissions Questions will be released in March 2013.

Danny graduated with Honors from Stanford University and holds a BA in Human Biology with an emphasis in Education. He was named a Merit Teacher for his work at Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles and worked as an educational therapist for K&M Associates in Los Angeles. He is also a member of the Western Association of College Admissions Counselors (WACAC). He has been featured on NPR’s Marketplace, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, Between the Lines on PBS, College Bound Magazine, The Bill Handel Show, and Powernomics. Danny is also a regular contributor to Money 101 on KFWB in Los Angeles.

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