Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Should you pick your major for your parents or for the salary? (One student's dilemma)

Lynn O'Shaugnessy, author of The College Solution book and blog, is one of my good friends and mentors. She writes many great articles, and I highly recommend her book about finding money for college

Today, with her permission, I wanted to share with you an article she wrote that I thought was right on. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

"Are you picking a college major based on lists of the country’s highest-paying college degrees?

Plenty of students are pursuing degrees that they perceive will generate the biggest salaries. I assume that’s why business is the most popular major – more than one out of every five students select it. I can’t resist mentioning that the blockbuster Academically Adrift study suggested that the grads who learned the least in college are business majors!

There are risks in picking majors by following the dollar signs, but before I explain why, please take a look at an email that I received over the weekend from a student I’ll call John:

I’m in a sticky situation. I am a freshman in college at the University of North Florida. Both my parents graduated with engineering degrees so I am being pressured to be major in something that in my parents view as important (engineering, biology, or law).

My dad makes good money so I felt like that the best option for me was engineering. Next semester I was supposed to take my Calculus I class to go on the engineering path, but I hit a road bump already because I got a 62% in Pre-Calculus. I have always thought of international business in the back of my mind and I talked to my counselor about double majoring with finance, accounting or an economics degree. Well I was wondering do any of these majors promise a job and a good future economically. Please help me!"

You can read the rest of the article on Lynn's Blog (start at the Picking the Wrong Major section) to find out her advice for this student, and maybe even for you too! Whether you've chosen your major or are still unsure, her advice will give you some things to think about to ensure you're on the right track. 

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