In my next few posts I'm going to tackle some common questions about if and how the major you select impacts your chances of admission. I'll start with, "Can the major you pick affect your chances of getting into a college?"
The answer is, "At some colleges, yes."
At some colleges, certain popular majors are "impacted." "Impacted" majors have more interested students than they can accommodate. It's like arriving at a party that can hold 50 people, but 100 people are already in line to get in. It would be much easier to get into one of the other, less popular parties.
Not all colleges have impacted majors. But those who do usually don't try to keep it a secret. If you want to know if a major is impacted, a quick call to the admissions office will get you your answer.
So here's the follow up question. "If the major I want is impacted, should I apply with a less competitive major and then change once I get there?"
It's important to remember that an impacted major isn't just impacted for high school students who are applying; it's also impacted for students who are already enrolled at the college and hope to get into that major. That means you could spend four years at the college and still not get into your chosen major.
If you're going to college because you want to be a journalist, and you've picked your colleges based on the strength of their journalism programs, it wouldn't make sense for you to apply under a different major to any school just so you can get in.
But if you're just considering a particular major and aren't necessarily sure whether or not you'll like it, you might pick a less popular major at some of your schools so you don't unnecessarily weaken your chances of admission.
Tomorrow: "Is it OK to apply as an 'undecided' major?"