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Choosing a College Major: Passion or Marketability? It’s bad enough that kids have to decide what they want to do with the rest of their life at the ripe old age of 18, but these days they are face to face with another difficult choice—the choice between following their hearts and listening to their minds, the choice between going after money and doing what makes them happy, the choice between passion and pragmatism. Choosing a major is an all-important decision that every teenager headed to college is expected to make. And what is the right thing to do when it comes to choosing a college major? That’s the question at top of their minds. Unfortunately, there is no universal right or wrong as far as choosing a college major is concerned, but there are certain dos and don’ts that you can follow, which can help lead you up the right path. The purpose of this article is to debunk some of the myths associated with choosing a college major and in the process, share some tips on how to choose one that’s right for you! Myth 1: Passion will not put food on my plate Wrong, wrong, absolutely wrong. While it’s wise to look for degree programs that offer excellent job prospects, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your passion. Unless you are passionate about what you’re doing or at least a tad interested in it, there’s little point in doing it, because it’s likely you’re going to do a shoddy job of it anyway. Gone are those days when there were only a handful of jobs that would pay decent wages. These days, it’s possible to follow your heart and still make enough money to keep you happy. Want to become a gardener and work amidst nature? Believe it or not you can earn up to $25.47 in hourly wages for this job! 1

Myth 2: Non-engineering and technology degrees are not marketable That’s probably the biggest myth and one that threatens the future of liberal arts programs. Such liberal arts degree programs may not lead to a specific career, but they do provide important skills that have application across industries. Let’s take the example of English major. Those who have a love for language and want to make a career doing something related to it may be persuaded by others to give up their dream because the degree does not train them for a specific job. What these “well-wishers” probably don’t realize is that a degree in English will provide graduates the skills for a variety of jobs instead, which include professional writing, editing, corporate communication, advertising, public relations, research, and more! Myth 3: All computer jobs are outsourced While it’s good to know the fields that are in demand when choosing a college major, the worst thing you can do to yourself is pay heed to hearsay. That’s what has been happening with information technology majors. One random search on the Internet and you’ll see tons of discussions on the worthiness of computer science degree programs, as there’s a pervasive belief that all tech jobs are moving overseas. But while a lot of them are still being off-shored, a significant percent of technology jobs remain in the states and are up for grabs by talented and qualified people. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eight out of the 10 fastest growing jobs between the years 2000 and 2010 were computerrelated.2


Myth 4: Healthcare careers require extensive schooling How many years you want to spend in school is an important factor in choosing a college major, so you should know that the healthcare field currently offers a plethora of jobs that can be broken into with twoyear associate’s of science programs. Some examples of entry-level healthcare jobs that can be secured with an AS degree include nursing, respiratory therapy, medical coding and billing, pharmacy technology, and medical assisting. Myth 5: Anyone can pursue business degrees You will do a great disservice to yourself by believing that some fields can be pursued by everyone. Each field has its unique requirements. In some you need to be good at math and science, while others require excellent communication skills and leadership qualities. The same is true of business courses. Certain qualities and skills are expected to be inherent in candidates who enroll for business programs. It’s vital that you are aware of your own strengths and limitations when choosing a college major! Sources:

1. payscale.com/research/US/Job=Gardener/Hourly_Rate 2. bls.gov/opub/ted/2001/dec/wk1/art02.htm


Choosing a College Major: Passion or Marketability?