Major choice can affect job security

A college degree: a piece of paper that can change the course of a student’s career. Students can become conflicted about whether to choose a degree based on their interests or financial security. Often, students have outside pressure from peers or parents to choose a specific major, university, or career.

“I want to major in visual arts. My dad thinks it’s alright, and my mom wants me to do something else with my life. She doesn’t think I’ll make it,” Sophomore Peter Vasquez said. “I think I want to do it because I’d rather do that with my life than do business.”

Vasquez’s conflict between passion and practicality is a typical one, according to College and Career Center Specialist Eileen Doyle.

“I believe that students should follow what they’re interested in, and with an eye to what’s going to be available as far as jobs in the future. I think if you can tie those two together, that’s a good thing to do,” Doyle said.

Doyle thought that the strongest careers in the near future would be anything to do with health, finance, and engineering. Guidance counselors Mark Gomperts and Kelly Ellis note that the most fields of study reported stated on the student input form are the pre-med track and the business field. However, students rarely sick with their initial choice of major.

“Probably 50% of kids that go to school change their major,” Gomperts said. “I think there are some students who have this idealized idea of what an occupation is and what it does, and not so much what it takes to get there.”

Through internships and volunteering, students can learn firsthand what a career is actually like, according to the counselors. If students are only interested in a field for its job security, then they may abandon their degree or end up in an occupation that they don’t like. There are many ways a student can prepare for college to be able to readily face these decisions.

“I think we see more kids taking on some advanced classes, like IB and AP classes, hopefully to gain knowledge and to gain the skills that it takes to be successful at the college level. Ellis said.