Undeclared Majors Find Success at Grace College
When you’re preparing to go to college, you might feel like you need to have everything figured out before you get there. But what happens when you can’t decide what to study?
Having an undeclared major doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing. On the contrary, it can be a helpful time for you to check out your options and work with your adviser to determine what program might be a good fit for you.
“Selecting a major is just one step in discerning a pathway forward,” said Denise Terry, director of the Center for Career Connections and the adviser for all undeclared students at Grace College. “I want students to know at this stage of the process that they are not choosing a career, but rather choosing an academic pathway that should lead to potential careers that they are interested in.”
Just because you start with an undeclared major doesn’t mean you won’t get to where you want to be. Check out the success stories of these dynamic and passionate seniors who were once undeclared students.
When fourth-year Isaac Beatty first came to Grace, he wanted to study business. That soon changed when he got his textbooks for his classes. “I was looking through the material, and I realized it’s not something I wanted to spend my four years at Grace studying,” he said.
Beatty switched to an undeclared major and took classes in the Grace core curriculum – a curated list of classes which expose students to a variety of topics essential to being a Christ follower in the marketplace. To see what he might be interested in, he looked at the classes required for a number of different majors. The ministry classes sparked his interest, and after he took a few, he declared Biblical Studies as his major. He is also pursuing a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Exegetical Studies through Grace Theological Seminary.
Since selecting his major, Beatty has been active in ministry. He just completed a graduate internship at Grace Covenant Baptist Church in Elgin, Illinois, and he is currently doing his undergraduate internship with Grace Baptist Church in Warsaw, where he studies Biblical literature and teaches a junior high Sunday school class. Looking forward, he knows he doesn’t need to rush into a lead pastor role. He hopes to find an associate pastor role or a residency through which he can grow and gain experience until he’s ready to transition into a lead pastor position.
To any undeclared students, Beatty says, “Don’t panic. It’s easy to fall into the belief that God is not working or that you might be doing something wrong, but God works as much in times of peace and clarity as He does in times of turmoil and confusion. Be prayerful in that time.”
Fourth-year Hope Trentadue always knew she wanted to help people, but she didn’t know how. “There’s this stigma when you’re a senior in high school,” she says. “Everyone constantly asks you questions about your future, and I learned very quickly that it’s okay to say, ‘I don’t know yet.’”
She first tried education and then psychology and counseling, but when those weren’t right for her, Trentadue switched to an undeclared major. While taking core classes, she learned about the communication major. She knew that communication opens up a lot of opportunities, which was perfect for someone like her, who didn’t quite know what career path she wanted to pursue.
“People think that if you’re undeclared, you don’t know what you want to do, but that’s not always true,” Trentadue said. “My time being undeclared was about figuring out what degree would give me the best opportunities.”
In May 2021, Trentadue became a talent recruitment intern for Ascend Indiana, a company that connects recent graduates to job opportunities in Indiana. She enjoyed working with Ascend so much that she asked to extend her internship at the end of the summer. The company had recently partnered with Grace College, and Trentadue wanted to help them expand. Now, she is back at Ascend for her fourth internship. Though she doesn’t know for sure what she wants to do when she graduates, she knows she wants to use her career to help people.
“It’s okay to look around and figure out where you want to go,” Trentadue says. “You don’t have to figure it out the moment you walk into college. I’m a senior, and I still don’t know what I want to do, and that’s okay.”
Unlike Beatty and Trentadue, fourth-year Konnor Cabe started college with an undeclared major. He was interested in exercise science and business, but he wasn’t sure which one to go for. During his first year, he took both science and business classes to try to figure out what was the best fit.
Cabe found he enjoyed science but didn’t want to do the extra schooling necessary to go into physical therapy. After he took a couple accounting classes, he found that accounting was the right major for him. Now, he’ll graduate in the spring with a bachelor’s in accounting as well as a Master of Business Administration from Grace.
Looking back, Cabe doesn’t feel like his year with an undeclared major was wasted. Though he didn’t end up pursuing physical therapy, those science classes he took counted for his bachelor of science degree.
“When you’re undeclared, you want to take a variety of classes, particularly classes you might be interested in,” Cabe said. “It’s a combination of looking at what major might be worth the cost of college and finding what you genuinely enjoy doing.”
Since declaring accounting as his major, Cabe has had two internships, one of which was at DWD CPAs and Advisors in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After this internship, he accepted a part-time job with the company that will become full time when he graduates. With only a semester to go before he begins his career, Cabe has no doubts that the choice he made was right for him.
“People like Denise Terry in Career Connections were helpful when I was undeclared,” Cabe said. “Ultimately, though, it was up to me to make the final decision. You’ll receive help from others, but in the end, you have to make a decision and trust that the Lord will direct your steps.”
It’s okay if you don’t know what to study. Undeclared students are just as successful as students who come in with a plan, and as these stories demonstrate, sometimes even those who come in with a declared major end up changing it.
Whether you know what you want to do in the future or not, we can help you find the direction that God is calling you to. Read more about how Grace prepares you for your career and check out our 100+ majors, minors, and concentrations.