4 myths about not declaring a major

a student sits under a large oak and looks up thoughtfully

Thinking seriously about which academic subjects you want to devote your time and money to in college can be a daunting task. You might think you have to have it all figured out before you even step on campus (or even before you apply), but we’re here to tell you that’s not the case at Colorado State. There can be some serious advantages to coming to campus without a declared major and being in Exploratory Studies. But, first, let’s explore the myths of why not declaring a major has gotten a bad reputation … and debunk them for you!

#1. “I’m not passionate about or talented at any one academic subject.”

You might be surprised to learn that most students feel this exact same way. It’s somewhat rare to be born with a passion and talent for one specific field; humans are complex and curious beings with interests in many areas of the world. College is oftentimes where you can explore those interests, and even discover new subjects that you didn’t even know existed. This is also the time and place where you can develop those deep passions for certain subjects because this is where you can dig in and really examine them. Don’t worry about not having a natural-born zeal for something. College is where you develop that, and Exploratory Studies can help.

#2. My entire career will be determined by my major.

We have great news for you! Many, many people end up in careers that they didn’t expect could come from their undergraduate studies. If we can give you one piece of advice before choosing a major, let it be this: Don’t major in something you have no interest in just because you think it will get you into a career.

The difference is this: A major is a body of knowledge; it’s what you want to learn and explore. Your career, on the other hand, is applying what you’ve learned. It involves many jobs and positions. Your interests, the life experiences that led you to your major, and your experiences in college will all help shape you into your unique self. All those things can influence why you choose a major and how you can take what you’ve learned into a career that’s inspiring, challenging, productive, and helpful to the world. Your major is just a piece of the puzzle when it comes to your future.

#3. “Starting undeclared will put me behind and I might graduate late.”

This is perhaps our favorite myth of all because it applies to undeclared, or Exploratory Studies, students and students who have declared majors alike. One of the best things about CSU is how much time you really do have to explore. Almost every major at CSU has enough wiggle room within its requirements to allow you time to take classes you have interests in, classes in a minor outside your subject area, or even pick up another major along the way and graduate with a double major. But as an Exploratory Studies student, you’ll have ample time in your first year to both tick off requirements that every first-year student takes along with exploring intro classes in almost any department you want. You can explore, knock off some required courses, discover your major, and start major-related courses—and almost always graduate, without issue, on schedule. Often, the key to a timely graduation means dedicating time and energy to reflecting, exploring, and utilizing your resources.

#4. “I might not be able to get into classes I need that fill quickly.”

Here’s one benefit to being at a bigger university like CSU: The classes you need are almost always available! In your first year, you’ll need to take required courses that every student needs to take to move onto the more-specialized courses in your major. Those classes are designed to work, no matter what your schedule is. Multiple sessions offered throughout the week at different times and different days will allow you to customize your schedule. Once you leave Exploratory Studies, declare a major, and move through classes within your program, you’ll get even more access to the upper-level courses you need and want to be a part of.

Ready to start narrowing down your options?

Check out our guide on how to choose a major, why to explore certain interests, and how to narrow down your academic options at CSU.


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.