What can you do? Be supportive, be informed, and be open to options that you might never have heard of before. It's a wild, wooly world out there when it comes to getting a job!
How can I Help my Son Choose a Major, and How will his Major Affect his Career Choices?
An academic major should be something one likes, and it should be something in which one excels. It may be directly or indirectly related to a future career. The reason a major is so important is because it is an academic requirement for graduation, not because it will determine what career or occupation your son can enter.
Hampden-Sydney prides itself on educating well-rounded men who, through an in-depth rhetoric program and core curriculum, learn how to think critically and communicate effectively. Liberal arts majors, therefore, provide basic knowledge and skills that can be applied to a number of different careers. Liberal arts majors do not restrict graduates to a few career choices; rather, they allow for a number of different career options.
As students are deciding on a major, we encourage them to examine their strengths and their interests, research potential majors, speak with other students and alumni who majored in subjects in which they have an interest, and meet with their academic advisor.
Majors do relate to careers in one significant way: they help with the further development of individual skills needed in a career. English majors, for example, usually develop excellent communications skills, especially writing skills. Math majors develop good analytical and problem-solving skills.
Career choices should be based on a genuine interest in the work and on having the abilities and skills needed for the work, not necessarily on a particular major. Career choices are also dependent upon good career information, and the best career information usually comes from personal research and work experience outside the classroom. When studying a particular subject, your son will learn more about the theories and principles of the subject than about the application of the subject to work. Knowledge about the application comes from working in a field, reading about the field, or talking with people in a field.
So encourage your son to choose the subject he wants to major in, and then encourage him to continue to research how his major relates to different career fields, and what other career fields he may not have considered.
The Parent's Crash Course in Career Planning: Helping your College Student Succeed (Marcia B. Harris and Sharon L. Jones, VGM, 1996)
College Majors and Careers: A Resource Guide for Effective Life Planning (Paul Phiffer, Ferguson, 2003)
Jobweb.org Parent ResourcesAdditional reading suggestions from the University of South Carolina