How Parents can help their Child Choose a College Major

Parents can help their children choose a college major without pressuring them to enter a field or profession in which the student has no interest. Putting their own dreams aside, parents can use what they know about their child to help them select a college major that will be both enjoyable and productive.

Begin discussions during high school

Parents can help their students make a better decision about a college major by starting the discussions while they are still in high school. Discuss which classes are the most enjoyable, which topics come the easiest and which careers are related to those observations. Talking about college majors during the high school years can also help students prepare for college by taking courses relevant to their chosen major.

Career aptitude

Parents can help their children choose the best college major by encouraging them to seek out a career aptitude assessment through their high school or online. Combined with these test results, parents can talk with their child about the activities they most enjoy, subjects that interest them and hobbies that can be turned into lucrative careers. Parents own life experiences can often provide possibilities that the student may not have considered.

Help them explore market trends

Many young adults may love the idea of training dolphins for a living, but there are only a limited number of jobs available in that sector. While not impossible, parents can help their students select the best college major by sharing what they know about market trends. Rather than focusing on such a narrow field, parents can encourage students to consider a broader set of interests, such as veterinary college, dog training or oceanography.

Don’t push

The surest way to get a child to defy their parents’ good intentions is to push too hard. Being pushy triggers their natural tendency to be independent and do the complete opposite of what is being suggested. It is, after all, their choice. Simply by getting a college degree, many young adults will be improving their marketability. Employers recognize and appreciate the time management, writing and study skills that come with a college degree. At the same time, nearly 40% of college graduates don’t even use their degrees in the job market. Helping a student select a college major they will be interested in will improve their likelihood of following through to graduation and succeeding in their chosen career.

Help the student be realistic

Naive idealism can be detrimental to any life path decision. Parents can help their child be more realistic in selecting a college major by helping them consider their reasons for attending college and the alternatives, choices and realities involved. One simple way to help a student is to encourage them to take a part-time job in a field they are considering, to see if they really enjoy it. The hopeful dolphin trainer may discover, before filling out college applications, that feeding dead fish and cleaning up dolphin poop isn’t nearly as fun and exciting as they had expected. These real life experiences will help the young adult make a better choice in college majors.

Providing a student with options, resources and personal insights can help them select the best college major for their skills, abilities and natural talents.