Majors and the Jobs of the Future

We have written several posts on choosing a major in college. While there is much debate about the relevance of a student’s major and their professional future, the downturn in the economy has many parents and students concerned about long term job prospects.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal published an article called “Landing the Job of the Future Takes a Two-Track Mind”. The article describes how today’s undergraduate (and returning) students need to have a variety of skills in order to be marketable. This is great news for students who are not comfortable committing to one major. Several students have interests in a variety of academic areas, so it is beneficial for them to study multiple disciplines while in college.  As the article states, students need to pick up “secondary skills or combine hard science study with softer skills”.

Choosing a major in general can be a taunting task, especially if you only in high school and are asked to indicate your future career interest on a college application.  Yes it is important to think about your future, however, when you are considering which colleges to apply to, it is important to consider what your options are.  Here are some questions to ask:

  • How easy is it to change majors?
  • How will changing majors delay your graduation timeline?
  • What kinds of jobs and internships are students getting in each particular major?
  • What are you interested in studying?
  • Are there other ways (besides academics) you can add to your “secondary skills”?

I have seen the decision to choose major completely stress students out.  In the end, it is about what is important to you and what you think you can be good at.  Everyone says you should “do what you love” but for some people that is a difficult quest to master.  Just remember that there is probably not a “perfect” job out there.  Every job is going to have some requirement that you don’t want to do, therefore there may be some “secondary skills” that you have to acquire even though you are not particularly interested in them.


Katherine Price

Educational Consultant

Published by Mark Montgomery

Mark is a leading educational consultant. His experience as a professor, college administrator, and youth mentor help him guide students from around the country and around the world.

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