#102 Classic Rewind: College Admission by Major with Andy Borst


At many schools, like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, prospective students must apply to a specific major when applying to college during the high school senior year. Since this is not standard at all colleges, it can be a confusing hurdle for many high schoolers and their families – but it doesn’t have to be. What does this mean for your teen? In this episode with Andy Borst, UIUC’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions, you’ll learn how college major-based admissions works and how to set your teen up to navigate the process successfully.



Although it can sometimes seem like it, admissions officers aren’t in the business of crushing your teen’s dreams. They want to make things possible for as many students as possible, and that’s where a college major-based admissions process can come into play. Each university can only accommodate a certain number of students in each program, so this type of application can help admissions staff focus on the students that are truly interested in the major and most likely to thrive.

When it comes to schools that admit by major, you might be surprised to learn that certain majors at these schools might be restricted to your student applying only as a 12th grader. For instance, if your child wants to study Computer Science at UIUC, they can only be admitted as a freshman or a transfer from another school. Your student must work in high school to identify a college major that aligns with their wiring. 

Andy warns not to try to take a shortcut into these highly competitive majors by applying for a different major in the hopes of transferring into your student’s desired field later. Trying to game the system isn’t wise. In these cases, your teen will be better off attending a different university where they have an assured start in their top choice major.

Of course, this kind of application process can feel unfair to your high schooler who is just on the cusp of adulthood. That’s where the Flourish Coaching course Launch Career Clarity comes in. Our online course with live support aims to help your teen discover the right college major, so your teen finds the right college and has more favorable outcomes. 



  • What is college admission by major
  • What majors are among the most popular and, therefore most competitive
  • How do restricted majors eliminate options for many high school students
  • When can your teen choose a second college major
  • Question to ask colleges about admission by major


About Andy Borst:

Andy Borst is the Director of Undergraduate Admissions with responsibility for recruiting, admitting, and enrolling new freshmen and new transfer students to the university. Prior to joining the University of Illinois, he served in the same position at Western Illinois University from 2011 to 2016. Andy serves on the Admissions Practices committee for the Illinois Association of College Admissions Counseling, which reviews and enforces ethical standards for college admissions in the State of Illinois. He earned a B.S. from Buena Vista University, an M.B.A. from St. Ambrose University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Iowa.


Episode References:

Get Lisa’s Free on-demand video: How-to guide for your teen to choose the right major, college, & career…(without painting themselves into a corner, missing crucial deadlines, or risking choices you both regret). 



Connect with Lisa:

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Access the episode transcript here