Students better off being indecisive at first rather than choosing a major just for money
A surprising new study performed on ACT test-takers has determined that only a fraction of teen college students choose a major that is actually relevant to their interests.
The study is based on the ACT’s Interest Inventory section, which attempts to determine career paths in which the student might excel. The findings are astounding. Of the 80 percent of test-takers who knew what they would major in, only 36 percent chose a major related to their personal interests.
This finding is particularly problematic, because those who do not select a major in which they are truly interested are far less likely to finish their degree successfully or on time.
The low percentage is unsurprising, however, according to Beth Heaton, senior director of consulting at College Coach. “The vast majority of them have no idea what they really want to do when they grow up. Even the ones who claim that they do,” Heaton said. “How can you know? If you’re 16, 17, 18, you know so little of the world.”
It would seem that many students are choosing their paths based on the money they think they are going to make rather than seeking to do what they love. Not only is this a quick way to make life dutiful and miserable, but it also means they may not have a clear idea of the work that is going to be required of them in their erroneously chosen field.
It is advisable that students who are unsure of their plans gain some experience in their prospective field, be it in the form of volunteer work or an entry-level job. The important thing is to get an idea of the absolute worst aspects of a job in order to determine whether it’s suitable.
Another option is to delay declaring a major for a couple of semesters in order to get a feel for the required classes of a major. If a student is truly examining all of his or her career possibilities, there should be no possible reason to experience difficulty or delay in finishing a degree.
If a person is spending their life working at something for which they have a true passion, everything else will fall into place. Sure, a wedding planner can make a ton of money, but only if they’re extremely good at what they do, truly gifted in the arts of organization and delegation and capable of calmly dealing with bridezillas. It’s not for everybody. It requires some serious soul-searching for a person to locate his true talents, but when he does, the money will come. Other people will recognize these special abilities, and they will want to put them to use.
There’s no better place for one to get to know oneself than in college. In such a diverse and stimulating environment, true colors are able to shine. If you’re unsure about your current course selection and the direction in which your life is headed, this is your wake-up call. Do some serious re-evaluation about what you (not anybody else) want out of life, and take the first steps to making it yours.
Opinion columnist Katie Wian is an English junior and may be reached at [email protected]