Choose a Career, Not a Major

Children are commonly asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and they dream of being astronauts, firefighters, doctors, teachers, etc. Although your teen might not want to be an astronaut anymore, what they want their career to be when they finish school needs to be a driving force behind their decisions now.

Although common wisdom claims a student’s choice of college and major will drive their occupation, for college to be the best investment it can be, it needs to be the other way around: The career choice should drive the selection of college and area of study.

How do you help your teen choose a career path? They don’t have to set anything in stone, but knowing general industries they’re interested can be extremely useful. In addition to the wide variety of tools that look at the student’s interests, talk to them about skills they like to use and jobs that sound interesting. If you know anyone in those fields or with similar interest, have your son or daughter ask them about it and even shadow them sometime.

Once your student has a few ideas about the type of occupation they’d like to have it becomes easy to figure out which majors could apply. Then during your college search you can look at schools that are strong those areas of study. During your campus visits ask specifically about those departments and find out if there are students or professors you can talk to about the classes.

Although your student might not know exactly what they want their job to be in the future, it’s important to help them see that the career drives the major. If they decide they’d prefer a different field and want to change majors prior to graduation, they can approach it with the same mindset and use their investment in their education wisely.

Want more ideas for helping your student explore and decide on a career? Contact me for a consultation!

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