How to Decide on a College Major
“I’m glad it’s over.” said, Tim, a proud father. “The rush to get college applications in, narrowing down the choices, and making the final decision. It was a little overwhelming.”
Tim, like a lot of parents, is ready to kick back. Why not? The party’s over, the in-laws have gone home, and he knows where his son is going to college next year. Tim’s work is done. Right?
It doesn’t matter if your daughter just graduated from high school or is finishing her sophomore year at college, one of the most overlooked questions parents and students fail to explore is “What should I major in?”
Here’s the deal. College is expensive. The 2004-2005 Annual Survey of Colleges indicated that four years of public college costs $22,266. But what the numbers don’t tell you is that college is even more expensive if your child drifts aimlessly for five or six years before committing to a major and graduating. Think about it. Each change in major adds thousands of dollars in tuition, books, room, and board costs.
So what can you do help control these costs and ensure your college student doesn’t bounce from major to major.
The following exercise is great for parents and college students to do together.
Start by writing at the top of a piece of paper “What should I major in? Next, write out all the questions that to relate to the problem. For example:
If I choose that major...
where will I work?
will I have flexibility in my schedule to invest time in family? hobbies?
are there job openings or will I need to start my own business?
will it support the lifestyle I desire?
does it allow me to capitalize on my interests?
who will I be working with? (people, machines, computers, animals)
can I see myself doing it for the next 30 years?
and so on...
Keep writing out all the questions you can think of regarding the problem.
After you've written out all the questions go through and decide which seven are the most important. Then consider how each possible college major addresses those top seven questions.
By helping your college student make his/her ultimate decision based on which college major bests answers the top questions, there is a greater chance you won’t be stuck paying for wasted tuition and your child won’t feel inclined to switch degrees every semester.
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