Tag Archives: Major

Profound Tip #1: Like Your Major

Like your major.

There you go, pretty profound, huh? Apparently some high school students need to hear this, actually a lot. You see, only 36% are actually following this advice.

The ACT College Choice report for 2013-2014 recently reported that 36% of students said that they are planning on choosing a major that is a good fit with their measured interests. ACT’s figures are taken from two simple pieces of data; first, the students ACT Interest Inventory scores and second, the students intended major.  After matching what students reported interest in and what they are going to be majoring in only 36% aligned. Does that surprise you?

Only 36% of high school seniors getting ready to head off to college think it’s a good idea to do something that they are interested in; 64% don’t.

Choosing a major

Maybe that’s why about 64% of people working today can’t stand their jobs and live for the weekend.  Coincident? I think not.

We can’t forget it takes three things to make a career work:

  1. Passion
  2. Talent/Ability
  3. Money

If you aren’t even interested in something how in the heck are you going to be passionate about it? A career without passion is soul-sucking. Don’t do it. Choose a major that will meet all three criteria for a successful career, and while your at it make sure its something you like.

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Why you MUST go to College Undeclared

Today, I’m going to rant.

The reason: I’ve been looking for some legitimate statistics on undecided students to share with you but they have been near impossible to find. Why? Oh, thanks for asking.  You see, the reason it’s so hard to find raw stats on undecided students is because when you type in “statistics for undecided college students” in Google (or type in anything at all to do with being undecided) you have to wade through the countless blogs and college websites telling students how amazing it is to be clueless and to go to college undecided – void of any statistics of course.

I read articles on a few of these sites; several actually. I shouldn’t have but I did.

In fact, I’ve nearly convinced myself that going to college undecided is in fact the best possible option. Why? Oh, thanks for asking again! You see it all starts with the way you view college to begin with. Apparently college is not a specific tool used for a specific job to get you a specific result, as I had once thought. I was wrong. You see, college is so much more than that. In fact, college is a necessary part of the transition into “adulthood.” College is a place of self-discovery and self-actualization. It is the time in your life where you realize who you are and what you want to do with your life. Regardless of what your goals or aspirations are, no matter who you are or what you want to do with your life, college is right for you.  But that’s just the back ground stuff.

Graduation

Now that we have established college is for you, because it is… no matter what, we can move on to why going there undecided is awesome.  The actual benefits of going to college undecided are almost too numerous to count. I say that, but I’ll number them anyways.  For your convenience I’ve combined all the infinite wisdom of the colleges, guidance counselors, and proponents of the undecided major into 7 main points. So without further ado here they are:

  1. It’s Cool
    Maybe colleges will look at your seemingly indecisiveness and your complete lack of direction as something deep and profound, you may be like a “mystery” or something cool like that. Maybe admission staff will see that your path transcends titles and boundaries.  Besides, picking a major is way too mainstream.
  2. Better Classes
    When you pick a major you have to take certain classes that go along with that specific major and most of the classes you pick will be in that department. Sometimes those classes may be hard or even worse, boring. Doing things that way usually helps you finish college more quickly and of course with a smaller bill, but whatever. If you go undeclared you can take any classes you want!  You don’t have to be tied to any department; you can take medieval history, children’s literature, and culinary arts. You can be a true Renaissance man or woman!
  3. You’ll Be More Open Minded
    Students who choose a major are kind of closed minded. By saying yes to one thing you are saying no to like a million other things. That’s really not cool. (I think reading all those articles is affecting my writing skills.)
  4. You Won’t Be Pigeon-hold
    You don’t want to be labeled do you? When you choose a major you may be stuck around certain people, like other people who are studying that major. You may be invited to events that are specific to that major and you may not be invited to all the other majors’ special events. Not getting invited to everything isn’t fair. But, if you are undecided you can crash everybody’s events and be a part of all the groups and social circles.
  5. Different Teaching Styles and Classes
    When you’re tied down by a major you’ll experience a lot of similar types of classes. For example biology majors will be stuck taking a bunch of labs and listening to lectures about biology. If you’re undecided you can experience lab work, field work, studio work, lectures, seminars, writing groups, and everything else that the college has to offer as far as teaching styles go. This is important because remember, college is not a specific tool used for a specific job to get you a specific result. College is all about the experience… dude.
  6. You’ll Be Smarter
    When you go undecided you’ll get better grades in upper level courses and plus you’ll be a smarter person when you graduate. People who choose majors right away can start taking the more difficult classes earlier on. By sophomore year students who have chosen a major can be taking degree specific classes. However, if you go undecided you will have to wait much longer to take those classes therefore you’ll be older and wiser when you do get to take them. Also, there’s a really good chance you won’t be able to graduate in four years or less like those folks who knew what they wanted to major in, so you’ll be in college an extra year or two thus even smarter still!
  7. Its Holistic
    This final reason is kind of a combination of all of them and it is that going to college undecided is a more holistic approach. You will get to experience more of everything. You will be a much more well-rounded individual and will have just enough knowledge in so many areas that at parties you’ll be able to be “that guy.” Plus from what I hear the economy is really looking for generalists right now. Specialists are overrated, too mainstream.

So there you go. Those are the reasons everyone MUST go to college undeclared, undecided, as an exploratory student, or whatever you want to call it.  The reality is that colleges are desperately pushing you to come to school as an exploratory student because it’s what’s best for you. They only have your best interest in mind and are not at all interested in things like retention rates and tuition dollars. They aren’t at all concerned with the fact that they are getting less and less state dollars each year and are more and more reliant on the money that comes from keeping students like you inside of their walls. They don’t have any ulterior motives at all for steering you into different programs within the university based on their needs and interests. The real reason they want you to come to college even if you don’t know what you want to do is because it’s best for you, trust me, it is. Now sign on the dotted line.

(Deep breath) Sigh.

Okay I’m done ranting now. I’ll put my sarcasm away. I just find it so very sad that when high school students have genuine questions about this topic and they look it up on google (like most of us do when we have a question) these are the types of responses they are getting blasted at them not only from bloggers, advisors, and counselors, but from the colleges themselves.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie.

Going to college undeclared is not the answer. It’s just prolonging the confusion at your expense. It’s a horrible way to do things. There are more options than A and B, going to college with a major picked out and going to college undeclared. There are also options C through Z. Don’t go to college, take a gap year, find a company you like working for and have them send you to college, start your own business, work in a field you like that doesn’t require a degree, get an internship, get an apprenticeship, volunteer in different industries you are curious about until you know what field you want to study, the list goes on.

Whatever you do, you need to know what you want. Identify your passions, know your talents, and have a plan in place to capitalize from them. If you can’t identify those three things you have some work to do before worrying about college.

Bottom line: If you don’t know what you want to go to college for then DON’T GO!

Share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

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How Do You Choose A Major?

 

College

Choosing a major can be an exciting and nerve wracking time, but the earlier you start thinking about it the better.   I would encourage you to think about it slightly differently than most of your fellow students.

The normal thought process:

“I know I need to go to college.  That means I need to pick a major soon, or I could just go undeclared. But, what major should I choose? Should I pick something that has a lot of options so I can figure it out later? There’s no way that I’m going to know now what I want to do for the rest of my life so I probably should go general and focus on something later when I have a better idea of what I want to do. By the time I graduate college I should have a good idea of what that is.”  

The weird thought process:

“Where do I want to be in 5 years? What job do I want to have or what business do I want to be running? What do I what my life to look like? How much money do I want to be making? What do I need to do to get there?  Is spending money on college absolutely necessary for me to get there? Will the return on investment be worth it? If it is then what do I need to know or what degree is required for that position?”

The fundamental difference between the two thought processes is that one starts with where you are and looks forward. The other starts with where you want to be and looks backwards. The latter is significantly more effective. Hindsight is 20/20 after all; and though you are not actually looking in hindsight you are effectively doing the same thing.

Colleges are a lot like car lots.  Some people go without knowing what they want. They see a lot of pretty shiny cars and after a little time with a good salesman they find themselves in a brand new sports car. It’s fun and exciting at first, but usually ends with buyer’s remorse. It all happened so quickly! They realize about 6 months, and 6 car payments later, that maybe they should have researched a little better.

The people who leave the car lot the happiest are those who knew what they wanted before they ever got there. It’s simple for them. They walk on the lot; look and see if the dealer has the car they want within the price range they set, if not they leave. If it does, then they buy it. Simple. Smart. Weird.

You need to know beforehand what you want.  The colleges you apply for should be based on what major you have chosen and the major you have chosen should be based on what your career is going to be.  Start with the end goal in mind and work backwards looking at everything you need to do along the way to get there.

Passion, Talent, and Economic Model:

The major you choose should absolutely be something you are passionate about, have some level of talent at, and have a clear plan to make money with.  It has to be all three. I’ll say that again. It has to be all three.  It doesn’t matter how much you love art history, if you don’t a have a legitimate plan in place to make money with it don’t major in it.  If you stink at math going into college, don’t major in accounting hoping you’ll get better; and no matter what you do, don’t choose a major based on what you think will be most profitable unless you really like the respective field.

Remember:

A fulfilling and profitable vocation is made up of three things: passion, talent, and an economic model. Before you even think about choosing a major, you need to have a plan for your future career path that addresses all three of those areas.

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