College majors

I work at my college advising center and am putting together a presentation for several hundred incoming freshmen about major choice in college. It got me thinking...what do you wish you had known when making your college major decision?

Re: College majors

  • I wish I had gone with the major I wanted rather than one just for the scholarship money.  I ended up changing back to the one I loved after a semester, and was just lucky it didn't put me behind.

    But about my major, I wish I'd really researched the salaries for jobs with that degree.  It's not really much, so now I have to go to grad school to make anything significant.

    I'm a psychology major with a business administration minor.  After I finish undergrad and work a few years for experience, I'll get my MBA.
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  • Being told what I could *really* do with the degree once I had it. This isn't my complaint necessarily, but I know a few people who just last year started looking at what jobs they could get with their degrees, and the money it would make them and places they'd need to go to find those jobs, and were startled at what they could really get into versus what their expectations were. They are now switching majors, some of them, and need to take summer classes to catch up. Luckily, my major was very up front about the reality of the degree we were getting! 
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  • Starting salaries v. Tuition costs (and if you are taking loans - the real tuition cost including interest)
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  • I have a biology degreeb.s.. I wish I would have known you'll never make any money without being premed,dental, vet, or optometry. realistically if you want to have a career with the opportunity for advancement a bachelors in biology is useless. I would have gone into Bioengineering.
  • I think most incoming freshman really need information one what can they actually do with the degree. LIke what bachelors degrees are sufficient to get a job right out of college in that field and which ones a graduate degree is required to get a job. Georgetown University just published a study on the value of different college degrees but I can't find the link right now and I think it had a lot of good information on chosing majors.

    So many people I know just randomly pick a major based on well i liked that class in high school but never know the answer so what do you plan to do with that degree.

    My fiance's younger brother starts college this year and is non-chalantly chosen chemistry as his major with no idea what he wants to do and I keep bugging my fiance to talk to him about it more so he doesn't waste time taking classes and then in two years realize that there aren't many opportunities in that field.
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  • Kind of late to the post, but - I wish I'd been more aware of the HIGH, HIGH stress level of my soon to be career (I'm a Software Engineer, BS in Comp Sci.). The money is good, especially for someone straight out of school, but I feel like I've been paid off for all my late 20s. It's really one hard deadline after another, and I've verified this isn't specific to my company... It's nice knowing I'll make my loan payments, but I'd also like to work way, WAY fewer 65+ hour work weeks.

    The other thing that I feel like it's important for CS people to know - once you start specializing, you have the bonus of being someone who can be considered for more senior level specialty positions, but it also makes it is NOT easy to change specialites without taking a few steps back. CS doesn't have a lot of lateral movement - it's up or down.
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  • I went from being a psychology major to an animal science major. At first I thought "hey, ill be a vet" but the more ive thought about it and researched the process, its just not for me. So now I'm a senior with no idea what I want to do with my life, which takes a toll on my motivation. Luckily, I'm taking a class in fall that is supposed to "show you different career paths." That would have helped a long time ago. Freshmen definitely need to know all their options and the kind of demands, responsibilities, and salaries that come with each of those options.
  • I agree with PP about the reality of their majors.

    For me however, it was more of if you odn't know what you want then just take basics.  I changed my major 6 times and ended up going to summer school every summer (including this one) in order for me to graduate in May.  I think that is something that a lot of people don't realize.  I will graduate with 165 credit hours.  You only need 120 to get a degree in Texas.  That's a whole extra year and a half worth of classes that I didn't need.  A lot of wasted money.
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  • pick a major you care about but be realistic ....

    how many jobs are there for art histroy majors!!!! 

    dont do just the basics your first year, add some classes that go with your major. nothing sucks more than having all the basics done then only being able to take 2 major classes a semster because one major class is a pre-req for another. space out your classes :) 

    make sure they get a 4 year plan with all the classes they need broken out into semster with 4 classes a semster or whatever amount of classes they can take a semster 
  • I'm a Foreign Languages major with a concentration in Spanish.

    I wish I had known that when I graduate, if I don't get a job pretty soon afterward, I could forget all my Spanish, thus making my degree useless.

    Here's to hoping I can find an interpreting job pretty quickly!! Laughing
  • I wish someone had told me what me different carrer options would be and I wish someone could help me plan all my classes. 
    I am a psychology and lingusitics double major and french and spanish minor so the juggling can get pretty crazy and I've had to figure it out throught this past two years and no one has been able to help me with it
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