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How Much Thought Should Go Into Your College Major?

Pick something practical. Choose something financially promising. Decide on a growing industry… Parental words of advice for the soon-to-be leaders of our country. It’s a jarring transformation for the teens of today. Stepping off one podium, high school diploma in hand then walking into a lecture hall of 200 the next day carrying the weight of the future in their book bags. As if the daunting presence of a smoldering economy isn’t pressure enough to succeed, parents today are also imposing their will on kids to become something they’re uninterested in – cursing liberal and fine arts programs for wasted time and tuition. But does the major of an undergraduate degree truly matter that much? Are teens doomed to poverty for wanting an education in something as inconsequential as say, French literature?

What’s even more disheartening than not having your parents emotionally support your dreams, is them refusing to financially support your education. More and more parents today are electing not to pick up the tab on their kid’s college careers because of their chosen field of study. PayScale Inc. conducted a study that yielded some interesting results. They found that history majors who pursued careers in business ended up earning, on average, just as much as business majors. Another study conducted by Northeastern University in Boston from 2009 found less than half of the nation’s 4 million college graduates aged 25 and under were working in jobs that required a college degree. That’s a noticeable drop from 2008’s 54 percent. What does this information tell us?

Simply put, it doesn’t matter what your degree is in right now. Jobs are scarce. Students should be learning what they are passionate about, not what the economy supports. There is a direct correlation between class rank and career earnings. So, if a student is into what they’re studying, that gives reason to believe their GPA will reflect it. A survey conducted by Toronto’s George Brown School found, “…most employers cite communication skills as the most important skill for a candidate to possess.” Engineering, accounting and finance are all fine choices of study, but the remedy for success isn’t solely found in the study of those fields. A degree in liberal arts has the ability to make a person a better writer, more communicably proficient and well-rounded.

Preparation for the professional world and the ability to think at an elevated level are at the core of any college degree. However, a student will take more away from their college years if they love what they’re learning. As for the fear of choosing the wrong major, education is never wasted. If you lack the passion and work ethic necessary for success, there is nothing a business or finance degree can do to help you.

SOURCE The New York Times, McClatchy
IMAGE: National Lampoon

Michael Doan

I've gone to college. I have a job. I eat my apple a day. I have decent manners. I love writing. I hope you love reading.

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