Ever-Changing Minds and Majors
Picking a particular major could change a student’s career choices or earning potential. It’s not surprising that many undergraduates start their college career undeclared. But once the core classes are completed — finding the right major — or changing majors is a common theme for many learners.
An article by V.N. Gordon cites that up to 50 percent of college students enter college without a chosen major, with 75 percent of students who have selected a major change it at least once before walking across the stage to claim their degree.
So how do students typically make their initial decision? Here’s the breakdown, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers study:
• 66 percent: Selected major based on career path
• 12 percent: Gravitated naturally toward a major
• 9 percent: Decided on a major thanks to an influential teacher or professor
• 7 percent: Considered salary when picking a major
• 6 percent: Chose a major with the help of family and friends
Ch-ch-changes: The Do’s and Don’ts
According to the University of La Verne, three times is a charm to finding the right major. Considering changing things up?
• Do pick a course of study you care about or have a genuine interest in. As the adage goes, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
• Don’t choose a major based on what is currently hot–trends can change. Look toward careers that have staying power. For example, there will always been a need for doctors, lawyers, teachers, and the like.
• Do consider a major in a field that is underserved or have empty spots for grabbing. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) continues to be a career path that needs more and more people.
• Don’t forget to choose your minor wisely, too. A well-picked minor could bolster your chances at getting a better job.
• Do make sure if any earned credit hours can transfer toward a minor or double major, so you’re not adding extra semesters to your future.
Don’t Let Your Degree Define You
The job market is constantly in flux and by the time students actually earn their undergraduate degree, may be very different from when they first stepped on campus. Never fear — many students end up finding work outside their field of study. Some careers or jobs haven’t even been realized, with 40 to 60 percent of new jobs to be created, according to a piece by University of La Verne.
• 27 percent: Amount of college graduates that actually have a job closely related to their major, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
• 51 percent: Amount of 2014 college graduates who are working in jobs that don’t require a college degree, according to a Career Builder survey
• 61 percent: Amount of graduates surveyed by Career Builder that are seeking further education to better their career
• 62 percent: Amount of 2010 college graduates that had a job that required a college degree, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York