College Majors

College Majors
Gray Easterling

When I was planning for my time as a college student, my choice of studies was heavily influenced by parents and grandmother. In my case, the result was time and effort wasted on classes that had very little to do with my final career choice. In hindsight, I should have started with a general and varied course of study to help determine what my true interest and strengths were. Maybe that is why I found this Wealth Management online commentary concerning college majors interesting. Here are some talking points to consider as you discuss college life with your child. College is tough. A high school student that cruised through his secondary school studies may find that college courses are much different, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. In fact, of those students starting off with a math major, 55% change to something else. Pre-med majors and others studying the natural sciences which include physics, biology, chemistry and geology will defer to another field at a 40% rate. Overall, 33% of undergraduates change their major; about 11% will change twice.

Here is the good news: generally, changing majors is not a problem. Recent studies have shown that students who change majors graduate at a higher rate than those who don’t. However, it is important to know the rules that exist at your school. Liberal arts schools are more likely than universities to allow students to explore their options before declaring a major. This declaration typically occurs prior to the beginning of the junior year. Since high school students are often not exposed to academic disciplines like anthropology, philosophy, and other “-ogy’s or “-phy’s”, the tendency may be to list medicine, law or teaching as career destinations. It will not take long to ascertain whether your student is compatible with these choices. Finally, be aware that the graduation rate at public institutions is only 59% (66% at private nonprofit schools) and, for those that do graduate, it takes an average of 5.3 years. Back in the late 60s, stretching your college career was a bit more difficult because of the military draft. Uncle Sam wanted us after four years. There are a couple of sources listed in the article that may be helpful. “Educate to Career” is a nonprofit that provides help with college and career planning. ETC’s “College Graduation Probability Program helps determine if a student is academically equipped to graduate with a certain major.

As you consider the roadmap to college, consider this parable. A visitor to New Orleans bought a map to help him navigate the city. Problem is, the map labeled “New Orleans” was actually a map of Baton Rouge. Frustration set in pretty quickly as he used the map to find his way around. No matter how diligent, no matter how studiously he worked with the map, he was always lost. The best attitude, the most positive outlook would not help. Without the proper map, reaching his ultimate destination would be very difficult. The same holds true for our “life” map. Without the right map, we are going to be forever searching. Let me bounce around Matthew 6 for some guidance (paraphrased): “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to your life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and burned tomorrow, will He not much more clothe you? Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.” Hope you all experience a joyful new beginning this Easter Sunday.

Although this information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, it cannot be guaranteed. This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized tax, legal or investment advice. FSC Securities Corporation does not offer tax or legal advice. The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of FSC Securities Corporation. Financial Solutions Group is a marketing name. Financial Solutions Group is located at 128 Versailles Blvd, Alexandria, LA 71301. We can be reached at (318) 448-3201. Securities, insurance and advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC.