I read an interesting article over the weekend at MSN Money. It was a list of the 10 worst majors for your career. They compiled their list based on financial and employment data for recent graduates, and the numbers are very interesting. You should definitely check it out. Anyway, their list of the 10 worst majors includes the following:
- Fine arts
- Film and photography
- Philosophy and religious studies
- Graphic design
- Studio arts
- Liberal arts
- Drama and theater arts
It’s an interesting list and brings up somewhat of a controversial topic. For all those college students out there, how do you go about choosing a major? Do you choose one based on what you really enjoy doing regardless of the job prospects? Or do you choose one based on the job prospects regardless of whether it’s something you enjoy? I’ve seen and heard arguments for both, and I’m sure you have as well.
On the one hand, I can understand the desire to major in a field you enjoy and are really passionate about. Maybe you really love Enligsh… or history or philosophy. I can understand wanting to make a career out of something you enjoy. When your job is something you really enjoy doing, it makes it seem like less of a “job”.
On the other hand, I can understand the desire to major in a field with a great employment outlook and good starting salary. After all, the point of a job is to make enough money to pay the bills and provide for you and your family. Even if it’s not something you really “like” doing, it’s important to recognize that your job doesn’t define you as a person.
So, what’s a college kid to do? Here’s what it gets interesting… you don’t have to choose either of those paths. Rather than going from one extreme to another, you can do a little research and find a middle ground. I know this is going to sound cheesy, but they have these personality tests that can give you a pretty good idea of what careers would be a good fit for you. I remember when I was in high school I took one of these tests. Some of the careers it mentioned were in computer science, actuarial work, and accounting. I think it listed the top five, but these are the only three I remember.
Deciding on My Major
I actually started college majoring in computer science. I’d always enjoyed computers and thought it would be a good major. Unfortunately, I found that computer programming was one of the most boring things I’d ever done. It wasn’t that it was hard, I just didn’t like it at all. So halfway through my freshman year, I began searching for a new major. I had just finished a sociology course, and I really enjoyed it. I thought about making that my major. But, I took a step back and asked myself, “What kind of job can I get with a sociology major?” Unfortunately, I couldn’t really think of anything.
One of my friends was majoring in accounting. He told me the job prospects were good, and the salaries were decent. Now, I’d never taken an accounting class, but I did always enjoy my business classes in high school. I took an accounting class, thought it was something I could make a career out of, and made it my major. It’s worked out very well, and I’ve been working in accounting since my senior year. Am I passionate about accounting? I don’t know that I’d go that far. I certainly don’t mind what I do. There are certain aspects that I really like, and there are other aspects that I don’t really like. The thing is, you’ll have that with any job.
The Bottom Line
Now, I realize everyone is different. Everyone enjoys different things, and are talented in different areas. You don’t have to base your college major solely on the job prospects, but you should definitely consider the employment outlook for your major. The last thing you want is to spend four years of your life earning a certain degree, racking up thousands of dollars in student loans in the process, only to graduate and not be able to find a job.