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Your college Major. Does it matter?

  • Page ID
    146679
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    Learning Objectives

    • Identify resources on campus supporting your own academic and career success

    Does Your College Major Matter to Your Career?

    There are few topics about college that create more controversy than “Does your major really matter to your career?” Many people think it does; others think it’s not so important. Who is right? And who gets to weigh in? Also, how do you measure whether something “matters”—by salary, happiness, personal satisfaction?

    It may be difficult to say for sure whether your major truly matters to your career. One’s college major and ultimate career are not necessarily correlated. Consider the following factoids:

    Fifty to seventy percent of college students change their major at least once during their time in college.

      • Most majors lead to a wide variety of opportunities rather than to one specific career, although some majors do indeed lead to specific careers.
      • Many students say that the skills they gain in college will be useful on the job no matter what they major in.
      • Only half of graduating seniors accept a job directly related to their major.
      • Career planning for most undergraduates focuses on developing general, transferrable skills like speaking, writing, critical thinking, computer literacy, problem-solving, and team building, because these are skills that employers want.

      College graduates often cite the following four factors as being critical to their job and career choices:

    Personal satisfaction, enjoyment, opportunity to use skills and abilities, and personal development.

    • Within ten years of graduation, most people work in careers that aren’t directly related to their majors.
    • Many or most jobs that exist today will be very different five years from now.
    • It’s also important to talk about financial considerations in choosing a major.
    • Any major you choose will likely benefit you because college graduates earn roughly $1 million more than high school graduates, on average, over an entire career.
    • Even though humanities and social sciences students may earn less money right after college, they may earn more by the time they reach their peak salary than students who had STEM majors.
    • Students who major in the humanities and social science are also more likely to get advanced degrees, which increases annual salary by nearly $20,000 at peak salary.

    So where will you stand with regard to these statistics?

    Is it possible to have a good marriage between your major, your skills, job satisfaction, job security, and earnings?

    “Success doesn’t come to you . . . you go to it.”

    – Dr. Marva Collins

    This quote really sets the stage for the journey you’re on. Your journey may be a straight line that connects the dots between today and your future, or it may resemble a twisted road with curves, bumps, hurdles, and alternate routes.

    To help you navigate your pathway to career success, take advantage of all the resources available to you. Your college, your community, and the wider body of higher-education institutions and organizations have many tools to help you with career development. Be sure to take advantage of the following resources:

    • College course catalog: Course catalogs are typically rich with information that can spark ideas and inspiration for your major and your career.
    • Faculty and academic advisers at your college: Many college professors are also practitioners in their fields, and can share insights with you about related professions.
    • Fellow students and graduating seniors: Many of your classmates, especially those who share your major, may have had experiences that can inform and enlighten you—for instance, an internship with an employer or a job interview with someone who could be contacted for more information.
    • Students who have graduated: Most colleges and universities have active alumni programs with networking resources that can help you make important decisions.
    • Your family and social communities: Contact friends and family members who can weigh in with their thoughts and experience.
    • A career center: Professionals in career centers have a wealth of information to share with you—they’re also very good at listening and can act as a sounding board for you to try out your ideas

    Let’s practice!

    Open the link LAVC and click on student services tab( upper tab)

    • Choose 4 resources that you think will be valuable to you and other students to use
    • Describe and explain what types of services is offered at each of your selected 4 campus resources
    • Why would yourecommeed each of the 4 resources to others?

    Licenses and Attributions:

    • CC licensed content, Original:

    College Success. Authored by: Linda Bruce. Provided by: Lumen Learning. Located at:https://courses.lumenlearning.com/collegesuccess-lumen/chapter/college-majors-2/ License:CC BY: Attribution

    • CC licensed content, Shared previously:

    Major (academic). Provided by: Wikipedia. Located at:https://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_%28academic%29. License:CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike.

    All rights reserved content:

    Adaptations: Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom essay removed (exists elsewhere in this work). Relocated learning objectives. Removed image of DNA oragami.


    This page titled Your college Major. Does it matter? is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gloria San Jose Daims.

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