Monday, July 23, 2012

5 majors to discuss with teens thinking about college

While the new common core standards call for all students to be college and career ready, the narrowed, one-size-fits-all initiative gives little attention to customizing coursework to a student’s unique talents, interests or abilities. As a result, like me, many young people are left with a diploma in one hand, and the other hand scratching their head, unsure of exactly what course of study they want to pursue. The end result can be a hefty investment in tuition, housing, and books in a major that’s just not right for them.

The high school years are the right time to begin having conversations about what might be the best field of study to pursue. If that field includes college, these are five majors to consider that might lead to fulfilling careers. Discuss these with teens early so they can begin focusing their high school experience toward activities, studies, internships, and/or work that will help them make the most of college and life.

1) Economics - Economics and other business degrees are among the highest-paying degrees available at college. While the coursework can be challenging, the results are worthwhile. Economics degrees can lead to jobs in business, other financial fields and academia.
2) Health sciences- Health-related degrees can lead to the lucrative field of health sciences. While others jobs are affected by economic factors, health care remains in demand regardless of economic conditions; people do not stop getting sick during a recession. Degrees in health sciences can lead to careers in areas such as doctors, physician’s assistants, and nurses. Such careers allow one to help others and lead to high levels of job satisfaction. With Baby Boomers at retirement age, this is a field in high demand.
3) Communication Studies- Communication degrees prepare students to enter fields like advertising and public relations. Starting salaries are reasonable, the work is fast-paced and exciting, and there is tremendous room for growth for those with talent. This degree also prepares studentts for running their own business once they gain some real-world experience.
4) Education - Teaching degrees do not always lead to the highest-paying jobs, but the field is rewarding and those who pursue it are responsible for educating the future. Additionally, with experience and additional study, the work can lead to fairly lucrative jobs in administration. Educators who find an environment that fits their style find the rewards of teaching lead to high job satisfaction rates.
5) Information Technology - As high school principal Chris Lehmann points out, “Technology is like oxygen, ubiquitous, necessary, and invisible. This is a field that will continue to boom for decades. With an IT degree, some experience and certifications, students can make six-figure incomes in a relatively short period of time. Further, the field continues to change and redefine itself, which leads to new opportunities throughout one's career.

These five majors are some areas that are likely to lead to employment opportunities.  Of course this is only a start.  If these are not areas of interest for the young people you are involved with, dig deeper, review college catalogs and trade publications and talk with people in various fields to investigate which opportunities are most likely to lead to success. 
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