Graduating high schoolers face one of the most important decisions of their short life; choosing a major. Keep in mind that this is the first decision your child will make for himself. Of course, some students might have made their decision long ago, but most are still confused. The good news is that this is quite common. According to a report by the University of La Verne, approximately half of the college freshmen enter university with undecided majors. But they will eventually have to choose one that can offer a promising career.
Your role as a parent is not to pressure or steer your child into choosing the major you like. Your job is to reassure them that you will support them no matter what they decide.
You can help your student make an informed choice about their major. Just apply our methods to choose a major:
- Pick a category first:
It is frustrating to decide from so many options, especially if you are unsure about each major’s academic areas. Some majors sound similar, but they are wildly different. So the first thing to do is divide the majors into separate disciplines. Broadly, there are six academic categories: Arts-related majors, Science and Math majors, Environmental majors, Language and Social Science majors, Business majors, and Engineering and Technology majors. Choose the category that appeals to your child. Now you can winnow the rest and shorten the list to the majors that your child likes.
- Choose a dual or single major:
Now that you and your child have a shortlist of possibilities to work on, we can get down to specifics. First, encourage your child to sit in classes of the majors they like. Most children fantasize about their majors, but they are unaware of the work they will need to put in for the degree. Therefore they must understand the hard work required for the degree. Once they take the class, they will tell if they can follow the course’s pace. Ask your child to talk to the professors and read through the curriculum. They will hence get a clear idea of the course load. If they’re satisfied with their choice, then it’s time to declare the major. Alternatively, your child might be equally passionate about two majors across disciplines. They can choose majors from each of these disciplines as a dual major. Programs like the mha mba programs online offer you the best of business and science majors all in one. Though double majors are quite demanding, they can also be rewarding. Just make sure your child is making the right choice for themselves.
- Get your child experience while they study:
Most students get a reality check when they step into their professional life. They realize that their job is not how they imagined a career. As a concerned parent, you should plan to prevent your child from becoming disenchanted with their occupation. So, motivate your child by organizing interviews with professionals in their chosen field. Or arrange for them to shadow someone to see the inner workings of the profession. Such an experience can help them realize if the current job is even something they will enjoy doing.
- Do not push them to choose based on assumptions:
Unfortunately, there are some myths about different careers. Some careers are considered more high paying than others. So parents pressure their children to choose majors based on potential earnings and benefits. While it is pragmatic to choose a career path with viable employment options, this should not be the only metric you use to decide the major. Ask your child about their interests and then discuss any options. Besides, not all starving writers starve, and not all lawyers are hotshots. There is a chance that your student will excel in their chosen field, so do not be too myopic about the decision.
- Get a second opinion:
You can get a second opinion as well. Your student can take a self-assessment test to narrow their choice based on their personality. And this is not just pseudo-science. Many companies use this test to hire people. According to a report, 80% of Fortune 500 companies choose the Ariel-Briggs test to decide on different job candidates. Indeed, Ball State University’s Career State has further simplified things for you. They have specified majors for all the types. So, encourage your child to take a quiz to get a clearer picture of things.
- Think about finances:
Calculating the cost of the major is vital. As some programs are more expensive than others, families should have honest discussions before deciding on a major. Medical degrees can cost as much as $210,000 per annum. Therefore it is a good idea to talk to your child about how much you can contribute to their education. You can also discuss any available financing options like student loans and financial aid. It is good to be realistic about the future to get a better picture of the available options.
After your child has decided, it is time to make arrangements for their move. Though it can be tough to cut the umbilical cord, keep in mind that your little angel is a fully grown adult. So, it is a bad idea to steer the wheel of their lives. Such an attitude can only lead to arguments and resentment. Remember: you can only guide them on the right path. It is their decision if they want to follow it or not. So, stand on the sidelines, be patient, and let them make mistakes. Just be ready with a band-aid when they fall.