Saturday, March 12, 2011

Educated majors

    Yesterday I was able to see my cousin who was home from college for the week.  While talking to her about college, life, and just in general catching up we stumbled upon the discussion of a major.  At the university my cousin attends she will have to declare a major by her second semester sophomore year of college, a deadline that for her falls in January of next year.  In about a year she will have to in essence decide what she wants to do with her life.  She has no idea. 
        As we continued to talk about it and discuss possible options she mentioned how next year she is planning on taking a class that gives students information about different career jobs and helps them choose what they want to be.  She also mentioned how in some other countries the process of choosing your career begins in high school.  My question is why not here? 
    For many careers students apply to college right into the track for that career.  For my cousin, it is already too late to go into engineering, nursing, and teaching; and depending on the university other career options are no longer options either.  It is true that you can always go back to school, or change your major if you end up in a career you hate.  However, that requires time, money, and a lot of extra effort. 
    It seems ridiculous to me that the first time students are being exposed to career options is a semester before they are supposed to choose their career, and for many an entire year and a half after the deadline for the career option they do choose.  Other countries, and likely a few other schools in America, have already realized this dilemma and addressed it, but they shouldn’t be the only ones.  Not everyone has the money to go back t school because they entered a career path they don’t like.  However, how exactly are they supposed to know they don’t like it until they try it?  My high school has a ridiculous amount of great classes however not one of them prepares students to choose a career.  That needs to change. Schools constantly stress making educated choices.  The choice of career shouldn’t be treated any differently.


  1. That's a really interesting point! Have you given any thought to what you want to do?

  2. Jess, you make a very good point that for many, the choice of a career path that at the time sounded interesting and exciting but is realized to be the opposite can be very detrimental to the rest of one’s life. Not everyone has, as you said, the time, money, and effort to go back through school to learn something they think will be more enjoyable. For those who are unprivileged to go to a school that has a poor learning environment and little choice for electives, I agree that it is unfair to so quickly force them to choose what they will be for the rest of their lives. However, for students like you and I who go to the same school and have dozens of options to take extra classes that study a variety of additional subjects as well as academic classes that are well taught, I find it reasonable to expect the majority of us to have an idea of what we’d like to learn in college. Having the resources and high level of learning that we do, a high school student should know what types of classes he or she likes taking, and, if they value the electives the school has to offer, should have an idea of what electives they should take to assure that what they believe they are interested in is what they think it is. High school, in my opinion, for those who are privileged to have the opportunity to, is the time to do trial and error and discover what subject is best to continue to be studied in college.