How parents can help their children choose a college major

Many matriculating university freshmen are unsure of a college major. The importance of picking a college major can affect all aspects of a student’s life from success in college academics to success in future employment. According to the founder of My Majors.com, Dr. Fritz Grupe states that “Eighty percent of college-bound students have yet to choose a major.”

Parents can help their students choose a major in college as long as they do not tell their students what course of study they should choose and refrain from pressuring their students to choose majors associated with high incomes. There are ways several ways parents can patiently encourage and help their students make the decision of a college major.

Beginning in high school, parents should encourage their children to participate in summer externships in their areas of interests. Externships allow students to experience a particular program to see whether this could be the career they wish to enter. Students can also perform a variety of volunteer work in many different organizations for a few hours a week. Not only does this give them some idea about different job fields, it also looks great on their college applications. Job shadowing is another way to help students decide on a college major. Encourage your student to make use of school resources such as counselors and career fairs. 

Sometimes a college major may depend on a university or college. If your student wants to major in journalism, some universities offer better degrees in journalism. Unless your student is going to be awarded a full scholarship, finances can play a big part in not only which university to chose, but may be a deciding factor in which major to chose. Most parents make a big financial sacrifice to send their children to college. They may not be able to afford out-of-state universities or universities that have the best curriculums for particular majors. The student and his parents need to research college handbooks for tuition, room and board, textbook costs and living costs along with curriculums at least two years before high school graduation. Parents and their student should visit University campuses. Most universities have programs for prospective students where your student gets to interact with current students and attend classes in various majors.

There are several published statistics about the future of various employment opportunities in the job market for college graduates. They are a great guide for helping decide on a major in college. Look online at “The Occupational Outlook Handbook” by the U.S. Department of Labor. It tells what schooling is needed for specific careers, expected earnings and other important information about almost every conceivable career. 

Parents should remain supportive if their student is struggling to decide on a college major. Help your student to decide on a plan of action and to clarify their goals and values. Parents should be patient and encourage their student to have patience. In this way, parents can help their students decide on a college major.

As Harry Truman once said, “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”