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6 Pieces of Advice for High School Students Uncertain About Choosing a College Major

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Navigating the crossroads of high school and college can be daunting, especially when uncertain about a future career. To help guide this pivotal decision, we've gathered six pieces of advice from professionals, including a mindset coach and a CEO. From aligning skills with major choices to seeking advice from recruiters, these insights aim to provide clarity and direction for students on the brink of their academic journey.

  • Align Skills With Major Choices
  • Consider an Exploratory Major
  • Explore Job Opportunities Firsthand
  • Choose a Flexible Major
  • Select a Major Aligned With Interests
  • Seek Advice From Recruiters

Align Skills With Major Choices

My one piece of advice would be to make a list of the skills you possess or hope to learn. Then, follow your instincts, go down the list, and highlight or circle your top five - the ones that call strongly to you. 

Do the same thing again until you narrow it down to just one. Then, ask yourself, where does this one skill most align with under the different college majors? Don't think too hard! Again, pick the one that feels like the strongest connection. 

This will then result in your chosen major. But remember this—you can choose another major later. College is a place to grow, which stands true for your major as well.

Kelli Chu, Speaker and Mindset Coach, Kelli Chu

Consider an Exploratory Major

Choosing a college major when unsure of your career path can be challenging. If your college provides the option, consider an exploratory major. This path will help you avoid studying something of no interest and pigeonholing yourself into working towards something you aren't truly passionate about. 

Exploratory programs open up options for trying different subjects, and by taking classes from various areas, you will discover what you enjoy and find interesting. It's a practical way to explore other fields and uncover new interests you've never considered. 

Embrace the opportunity to step beyond your comfort zone. If something interests you, don't hesitate to take an introductory class. College is all about learning and personal growth, so be open to trying new things, even if you initially feel unfamiliar. 

Acting on even the slightest curiosity can lead to great rewards. Enroll in those introductory courses, embrace new experiences, and relish the excitement of discovering something fresh.

Aliza Dodge, Consultant, EC1 Partners

Explore Job Opportunities Firsthand

One valuable piece of advice for high school students when choosing a major for their future career is to explore the kinds of job opportunities associated with the major. Take the time to dive deeper into these potential career paths by visiting companies or organizations where these jobs are performed daily. 

This firsthand experience can provide them with invaluable insights into what day-to-day work is like and the type of people with whom they'll be collaborating.

While studying a particular major can be enjoyable academically, it's important to recognize that the actual work in that field will differ significantly. For example, I found psychology interesting to study, but when I ventured into the job market, I realized the positions didn't align with my interests and passions. 

I wasted a lot of time studying psychology and wish I had researched deeper into the field before studying the major.

Al Tran, Realtor, Blogger, and Author, DS Inspire

Choose a Flexible Major

Many high school students are uncertain about their future careers, and this is completely normal. 

However, it is important to choose a college major that will allow you to explore different career paths. For example, if you are interested in a career in business, you can choose a major in business administration, finance, or marketing. 

This will give you the opportunity to explore different areas of business and figure out which one is the best fit for you.

Matthew Ramirez, Co-Founder, USMLE Test Prep

Select a Major Aligned With Interests

If I were giving advice to a high school student who's unsure about their future career, I would suggest selecting a major that aligns with their interests and allows for flexibility. Instead of committing to a highly specialized field, it's better to choose something broader that offers various opportunities. 

It's important to get involved in activities, internships, or part-time jobs that expose you to different areas of study. Remember, college is a time for exploration. It's common for people to change their focus as they discover new things and develop personally. 

Your choice of major doesn't have to determine your future; it simply serves as a starting point that can open doors to many rewarding career paths.

Jacob Maslow, Owner, Rest Equation

Seek Advice From Recruiters

As the CEO and founder of Bemana, a recruiting firm specializing in the equipment and industrial sector, I can tell you that people often think that recruiters are only available to those actively looking for work. However, that's not true—I'm always willing to talk about the future of work, especially to students, and in fact, have done so at several schools. 

As a recruiter, I'm well versed in what careers are in demand and which have fallen out of favor. Plus, I have strong knowledge about what kind of schooling companies are looking for. So, I'm a natural choice for any youth looking for advice about which major to pursue.

High school students should reach out to a recruiter or recruiting firm to get an idea of the current work landscape, before making a decision that will affect their entire lives.

Linn Atiyeh, CEO, Bemana

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Careers That Matter provides online programs to teenagers across the globe. The organisation is based in Melbourne Australia. We have students from across Australia including Sydney, NSW 2000, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Perth, WA 6000, Adelaide, SA 5000, Hobart, TAS 7000, Canberra, ACT 2600, Darwin, NT 0800. We also take students from The United Kingdom including London, Europe, and the United States including New York , Canada, New Zealand including Auckkland and Wellington, and Asia including Singapore and Malaysia.