College Major: The Right Choice?
I've noticed teens are not paying much attention to what they choose as their college major. Yes, I understand the draw of ‘follow your passion’. I agree you don’t want to be in a job 8 hours a day that you absolutely hate. But that’s the point. You need a job. Something that actually pays some amount of money. Even if the job with your major begins at minimum wage or just above, the question to ask is, are there advancement opportunities? Can you move into management or freelance that skill and become an entrepreneur once you’ve got some time under your belt? Minimum wage isn’t usually enough by itself to pay the bills, and the last thing you want is college debt for a job you could have gotten right out of high school.
I ask this question so that you, the parent, can sit down with your teen and have a frank discussion about their goals. They don’t have to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at age 17 (Lord knows I still recall the 'Deer-in-the-headlights' look in my son's eyes the night before he had to choose his college major. I'll discuss how I handled that later) but they should have an idea of what kind of a job(s) a degree in x will provide, and what the entry-level pay is likely to be. Then make sure it’s a job that might actually pay the bills.
Although the job market can change from the start of college to graduation, going in with their eyes opened is sensible. Otherwise, that college loan that equates to a mortgage will be devastating, to say the least. Oh, and don’t think that a list of ‘Fastest Growing’ or ‘Popular’ college majors will be the ticket. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s the smart thing to do. The best course of action is to not have college debt, to begin with. Join me in Cracking the Code to Free College and follow in the footsteps of the 30% of college students who graduate debt-free.
Here are some resources for having conversations with your teen.:
Best jobs by college major:
Salary by job title (Each column can be sorted.):