Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Choose a college major that fits your personality - not someone else's expectations

Don't feel pressured to choose a college major or educational option that you're not passionate about - just because it's a "top" major or it's your parents' choice for you.  But don't shut out other recommendations either, just because your parents suggest it.  Do your own research and make your own major choice - you're the person who has to live with it (and God forbid, enjoy it!).  Start by putting together your own post-graduation plan (see High Quality Decisions).

It’s easy to get drawn in by media coverage and surveys about the “top college majors”, the ones it seems you’re supposed to choose if you want a job after graduation.  For example, according to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, the top 5 academic majors that had the highest percentage of job offers at graduation in 2010 are:
  1. Accounting (46.9% got job offers)
  2. Business (45.4%)
  3. Computer Science (44.1%)
  4. Engineering (41.0%)
  5. Social Sciences (40.5%)
Surprise: When you dig further into the numbers, you see that there are other strong fields: visual and performing arts majors (40.5% got job offers).

This list is great for Enterprising and Investigative personality types - but still limiting, even for them - and extremely limiting for everyone else.  I have nothing against Accountants (please ignore our Facebook Page link to Monty Python's Vocational Guidance Counselor) or Business (as I am a businesswoman now). It's just that there are so many other options to consider alongside them.

So looking at “top” or “best” majors can be a very narrow way to look at the job market post graduation. The most important information is whether a major fits you - your interests and personality. The key is to think outside the box when it comes to choosing a major, and make sure you've truly explored the many options that match your Holland personality type. Then look at job outlook - there are promising jobs for all 6 personality types.

And by exploring college majors, I'm referring to the activities in:

Learn about Occupations that are associated with different majors
Learn More About the Jobs that Interest Me
Learn more about the college majors that interest me.
and don't forget,

Please check out the many other "career exploration" articles on the Career Key website to explore.

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