Myths and Facts About College Majors and Careers

From the Antelope College website

Myth: You need an exact match between your course of study/major and a future career.

Fact: Though there are some careers that require specific training, such as nursing, engineering, accounting, etc., there are more careers that do not follow from a specific course of study/major. In fact, a recent study by the College Placement Council indicated that the majority of college graduates are successfully in fields not directly related to their academic majors! 

Myth: Once you have a course of study/major, you must stick with it your entire college career. 

Fact: More than 70% of college students change their course of study/major at some point during college. 

Myth: Job market demand should be the primary determinant of an academic choice. 

Fact: Selecting a course of study/major because it is currently "hot" on the market can be dangerous. Though it is important to look at the potential for employment, the job market is difficult to predict. What is in demand when you are a freshman may not be in demand by the time you graduate. You are on much firmer ground when you select a course of study/major that truly interests you, and find a way to apply it to a career. 

Myth: You must pursue a certain specific course of study/major in order to prepare adequately for professional schools such as dentistry, law, business, medicine, etc. 

Fact: Most professional schools do not require a specific course of study/major, as long as you meet certain academic courses. For example, in recent years, liberal arts majors have had a greater success with acceptance to medical schools than biology majors.  

Myth: Your academic course of study/major is the primary determinant of your future career success. 

Fact: A college major alone is not enough to help you prepare adequately for a career. Internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work all contribute to your growth as a well- rounded person, and in developing your skills and abilities. In fact, employers place a very high value on these types of " extra " activities when looking for employees. 

Myth: Your career path will remain fairly stable throughout your adult life 

Fact: Nearly half of all graduates change their career plans after they finish college, and the average person changes careers nearly 8 times in his/her lifetime. 

Your college course of study/major does not train you for a single, specific job. Instead, it seeks to develop your aptitude and abilities so that you can use them in the broadest variety of careers. That is why it is important to choose a course of study/major that allows your individual talents to flourish. Find a course of study/major that fits YOU, rather than trying to fit yourself into a course of study/major. Undergraduate education is not so much a determinant of what you want to BE, as much as what you are prepared to BECOME. 

Sources: College is Only the Beginning, edited by John N. Gardner and A Jerome Jewler; What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Nelson Bolles; What Can I Do With a Major In...? by Lawrence R Malnig.


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