How Major is a College Major?

Choosing a college major is not the fork-in-the-road life moment, where the only consequences are becoming the next Steve Jobs or complete destitution.  Many will equate “deciding a major” with “deciding a career.”  However, major choice doesn’t always match exactly with careers.   Ask any college graduate if their career directly correlates with their academic major.  Their answers may be eye-opening, and help reduce the fear that an academic major decision is a major decision.

National Public Radio recently analyzed major choices since 1970 and found the following:

According to the Department of Education, as recently as 1999 roughly two-thirds of new teachers graduated with an undergraduate degree in education. By 2009, that figure fell to just half.

And, if more proof is needed, the author could easily be counted as one of the “roughly two-thirds” in the Department of Education’s statistics for the Teaching Class of 1999.  A brand-new teacher in 1999, my undergraduate degree is in Ethnic Studies, not education.

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While choosing a major isn’t a trivial matter, approaching the decision as a process that unfolds over time and through multiple conversations can reduce the pressure.