Follow your heart or pocket book to pick college major?

My favorite babysitter is headed to the University of Georgia next year all set to major in journalism, and I’m having to a hard time not throwing myself on her and telling her to go to business school instead!

As a parent do you let your child (ie-pay for your child) to major in something they are interested in or do you try to convince them to major in something they can make a living at? It would be great if these interests went hand in hand but that is often not the case.

Yahoo Hot Jobs recently had an article about the worst-paying college degrees in the country.

“There’s no denying the value of a college education: According to recent U.S. Census surveys, the median salary for college grads is more than $20,000 higher than that of people with only a high school diploma. And the unemployment rate for people with bachelor’s degrees is almost half the rate for people without.”

“But some degrees are worth more than others, as PayScale.com shows in its 2010 report on the earning power of bachelor’s degrees.”

“No surprise, engineering degrees continue to be top earners–and (also no big shocker) you have to go pretty far down the list before you see the liberal arts well represented.”

What were the worst? (See article for all the detail on each, but here is a quick look.)

10. Drama (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $56,600)

9. Fine arts (starting annual salary: $35,800; mid-career annual salary: $56,300)

8. Hospitality and tourism (starting annual salary: $37,000; mid-career annual salary: $54,300)

7. Education (starting annual salary: $36,200; mid-career annual salary: $54,100)
and
2. Elementary education (starting annual salary: $33,000; mid-career annual salary: $42,400)

6. Horticulture (starting annual salary: $37,200; mid-career annual salary: $53,400)

5. Spanish (starting annual salary: $35,600; mid-career annual salary: $52,600)

4. Music (starting annual salary: $34,000; mid-career annual salary: $52,000)

3. Theology (starting annual salary: $34,800; mid-career annual salary: $51,500)

1. Social work (starting annual salary: $33,400; mid-career annual salary: $41,600)

Based on these numbers would you advise your child not to major in these things or would you encourage them to follow their dreams no matter what the financial reward?

95 comments Add your comment

Jeff

May 21st, 2010
6:46 am

I have my business degree because it applies to almost every industry. The only thing I would do differently is go to a college far, far, far away.

I think if you have a profound disagreement with the child, you compromise on a double major. And that may keep them too busy to party their way out of school.

Rally One

May 21st, 2010
7:38 am

well that depends, would you rather spend your life working a career that you love and make little money or a job you dread going to but makes you very wealthy??

where’s our funny Friday topic??? LOL

Rally One

May 21st, 2010
7:39 am

oh, and I picked the first…love my job but make little money… :)

Mom to 2

May 21st, 2010
8:09 am

Often at 17 or 18 what we think we love isn’t really what we want. When I started college I was an art major,decided it wasn’t for me and went through several majors before settling on business. My husband is an engineer and when our children started college one wanted to major in business and the other in sociology. We had conversations with both about picking a major that they enjoyed and could use for a career. I admit we had more with the sociology major about what she wanted to do in life and how this degree would fit. She talked about wanted to get her masters, then a doctorate, but didn’t really know how that applied to real life. She just liked the studying sociology. She did get an undergrad degree in sociology but is getting her MBA. As an entering freshman we don’t always think about how we’ll make a living later.

Jill

May 21st, 2010
8:23 am

My daughter will be a sr. in high school next year and is following a theater track. I have been urging her to have a back-up plan, and she is looking to combine theater with counseling or some type of theater outreach or drama therapy plan (yes, drama therapy really exists as a college major and you can become certified in Drama Therapy). The biggest thing I’m urging is that she remains flexible and open to whatever avenues are presented to her during her college studies. As long as she can make enough money to support herself with food, shelter and clothing she’ll do just fine.

TechMom

May 21st, 2010
8:23 am

That’s tough. I picked a business degree and think I do fairly well but I chose not to major in engineering or math because I thought they were too challenging given my circumstances (i.e. a kiddo and working full-time through college). My husband changed his major from education to business and regrets it every day. He was also working full-time and could not do all the student teaching and such while working so he switched to a degree that he could complete by going to school at night. But he’s simply not happy in the corporate world. He’s talked about going back and getting his masters in education or theology but that would not only strap us with additional debt but would cut his salary by about 35-40%. (he could become a youth pastor without a masters but that pays even less and usually has no benefits).

I want my son to major in something that will pay off but also make him happy. If he wanted to major in something like journalism or drama though, I’m pretty sure I’d have a coronary. I like the idea of the joint major. Want to major in Spanish? How about International Business & Spanish? That way you could actually get a job.

Photius

May 21st, 2010
8:24 am

My advice to my child is follow your heart. When I was 18 working at a tennis center I started asking all the 50 year old members what they did for a living and what they majored in. 90% of the time what they majored in had no bearing on what they were doing to earn a living, unless it’s engineering or law, etc. In today’s world earning a college degree does not mean having a successful career. Go to college to learn.

TechMom

May 21st, 2010
8:28 am

After reading Jill’s post and then mine again, I’m lead to this question:
Is it easier for us to accept girls majoring in areas that will lead to lower-paying jobs than boys? Are we are still rooted in tradition and assume when that boy grows up and gets married, he will need to support his family and therefore needs to plan for a higher-paying job.

Yep

May 21st, 2010
8:29 am

Engineering and Business are the two that will make you the most money. Particularly, a B.S. in Engineering and an MBA with a focus in something like finance or accounting. It also has to do with the college you attend. No offense, but a degree from a Ga Southern or a West GA is NOT a degree from a UGA, GT or Auburn. If you can’t get into one of those schools out of high school it is ok to settle on a lesser school. Just work very hard to transfer to a better one. Remember, there aren’t many jobs out there now who care what school you originally went to. They only care about the school that shows up on your resume.

Michelle

May 21st, 2010
8:38 am

I think a lot of the kids find that once they actually start taking classes towards their majors, they don’t really like them and change their minds! My cousin, for example, was going to be a lawyer. She did her undergrad at Auburn and when she started her law classes HATED them. So, she is now a PhD in psychology!

I think we should be supportive of what they want, but also discuss what opportunities are out there for that type of major. As someone posted earlier, they discussed with their child what type of work would be available with that degree!

I heard an interesting quote last night (don’t know for sure where it originated) and I hope I get it right “If you miss you calling, you will never truly be successful, if you find you calling, you will never fail!”

I think pretty much says a lot for those of us who are actually out in the real world and working!

motherjanegoose

May 21st, 2010
8:40 am

@ Mom to 2 great points! Your last sentence says it best and you portray what I mean when I say
( to parents of young children), “look for advise from someone farther along on the sidewalk…”

We are in the midst of this right now, as my son has several friends who are not finding the job they want nor the pay. Of course, the way our economy is…who would have predicted it? We also have friends and relatives with children who are not finding a job as they finish college. The question for them is, should they get their masters and then look? If they have no experience, will the employers want to pay them more for their education?

T, I also cringed when someone told me their daughter was going into journalism, as I know my son has told me it it tough to find a job ( based on his peers) and tough to make what you need to make to live.

When I was entering college and wanted to be a teacher, the market was tough and many told me not to go this route. By the time I was finished, jobs were there. Now, it is again hard to find a job teaching. I am not teaching in the classroom but have my own business…it takes work to keep things moving and talent to develop new things that my clients will want to know.

As most know, our son is in Pharmacy School and we hope he will make enough to pay his professional loans back and live comfortably. He has been with his company now nearly 7 years, so he has the experience.

Our daughter expressed interest in culinary school but that worried me as it is very competitive with lots of intense work ( cranky customers….like me lol) She is going to UGA and plans to study food science and product development. Ultimately working in test kitchens to develop new food items.
We’ll see.

Not sure if steering a child away from their passion is any different than those who ( years ago) forced left handers to use their right hand. As a parent, you are still trying to do what YOU think is best but sometimes we do need to let them make their own choices. I am not sure here.

Angela

May 21st, 2010
8:41 am

when I first attended college in 1990, I decided to major in chemistry because a chemistry scholarship is what was fueling that idea. I HATED IT!! I quit. Fast forward to 2008. I am now a full time college student again majoring in something that I WANT to do, not what I NEED to do. It is so much better to major in something you like as opposed to what will bring you the most money. I will NEVER let money affect the direction of my child’s future.

Jill

May 21st, 2010
8:43 am

TechMom: I also have a son who is a rising high school sophomore, and this kid is clueless as to what he wants to do in life. His strongest focus right now is on Xbox. He’s so laid-back that he tends to fall asleep whenever he sits down. My advice to him is to find something (other than Xbox) that he is passionate about and follow it, so long as it’s legal. If he were to show interest in music or another low-paying area I’d be thrilled and would offer the same advice to him: find something you enjoy studying, but have a back-up plan in mind to actually earn a living that can provide you with food and shelter.

motherjanegoose

May 21st, 2010
8:43 am

ooops…I think it should be advice. Michelle…I love that quote …thanks!

b

May 21st, 2010
8:49 am

That decision is not yours to make although input can be given. Our daughter just finished her junior year and has been through the wringer on deciding on a major. Although she asked for our advice in the end she chose what is best for her. She has a plan, it is her life, and we cannot live it for her. She will be 22 when she graduates, will have no school loans as she paid for everything through academic and athletic scholarships and working during the summers. Why would we force her into a career path that she will not enjoy? She will have to work for the next 40-50 years!

My college degree is science based and I have an MBA but I am on my third career. Two out of three careers I have really enjoyed, the third I hated. My course work in college only got my foot in the door, but it was what I did and learned on the job that made my careers.

Alecia

May 21st, 2010
8:53 am

Major in the practical and minor in the fun. I love foreign languages, but am glad it was not my major. Graduating with a double major in business and minor in spanish paid off much better than just focusing on spanish. Granted, speaking another language is a great skill to have. However, a lot of my liberal arts buddies avoided math like the plague. In the college of business math is unavoidable. Also, a lot of people majoring in soft subjects like journalism,english,poli sci,or history do not have the ability to pass calculus,statistics, in addition to senior level accounting and finance courses. It’s easy to tell a person to major in business. However, they will not get accepted into most undergrad business programs until they complete statistics,calculus, accounting 1&2(3rd acct class 4th yr),macro and mico econ(add’l econ 4th yr),and finance 1(finance 2 comes later). After being accepted into the university as a freshman a student has to complete these courses to be accepted into the business school their junior yr.
However, if a student plans on going to grad school later it makes sense to pick the easiest major possible and build up a good GPA. A BA in business is not required for MBA program and every major is accepted in law school.

motherjanegoose

May 21st, 2010
8:58 am

@ Jill….our son was into comic books….he has probably a thousand. He has always been an awesome student and loved to read. Still reads comics on his laptop. At that age, he started a part time job and this was good for him. Not sure if this would work for you.

CPT

May 21st, 2010
9:01 am

If you attempt to study a subject that you have no interest in, you will not be successful. Those high salaries for business/engineering are based on people that have a interest and apptitude for those subjects. If you don’t, you won’t make those salaries (and you probably won’t even graduate).

If your passion is for a subject matter that doesn’t make much money – that’s ok. But don’t spend $40K a year at an Ivy League school to get a job that’s only going to net you $30K a year.

JJ

May 21st, 2010
9:01 am

Great topic today, as we are dealing with this in my house at the moment. My daughter, for the longest time, wanted to be a lawyer. I worked in law offices for 15 years, and I have a little experience with lawyers. Then she fell in love with Dolphins and wanted to study marine biology and become a dolphin trainer. Now she is adamant about being a lawyer, and that child can argue her way into/out of ANYTHING!!!! I think she will be a great lawyer, but law school is VERY expensive, and I just don’t have that kind of money. I don’t want her to get into student loans, and have $100,000 debt when she finally graduates.

I’ve been told that my daughter talked to a very good friend of mine, and does NOT want to go back to school where she was last year. I know she made a ton of friends, and just had a blast, but she is tired of school. I’m trying to persuade her to come home, and finish her “core” classes at Gwinnett Tech, Perimeter or even Gainesville. I think she would be happier up here with all her friends from high school.

She will have to work very hard and help pay for law school, and it may take YEARS….but if that’s what she wants to do, and I will support her as much as I can.

I’m looking foward to seeing what others post…….I could sure use some suggestions…..

TailaMarie

May 21st, 2010
9:09 am

I double majored in Education and French. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and that is what I do. I somedays find myself unhappy with my students but I never have regretted my choice; even with the current climate towards teachers and budget cuts.
My husband went to Kent and UGA and majored in Music, his passion, only to have his wrist quit on him. Since he didn’t want to teach music theory he went to law school!! He has regretted that choice and now spends is time trying to find his niche in law.
If our son decides to go to college (hey, if he wants to be a plumber, why stop him?) in 17 years or so I will tell him to follow his heart. Major in what he wants to major in. If you love something enough you will find a way to survive and make money doing what you love because you will have the drive to do it!

Lori

May 21st, 2010
9:11 am

I know a lot of people with business degrees that can’t get any job other than sales, and they are miserable. I would ALWAYS tell my son to follow his heart. If you love what you do, you are more likely to push yourself to excel, and therefore be at the top of the grid. If you are the best at something, then you’ll make more than your competition. Life is too short. Be happy. Why would you not want your child to be happy?? I did the “smart” thing, got an engineering degree (hey, I was “good at math & science” so it seemed like a good idea. While in engineering school, I fell in love with Psychology. I didn’t switch because it would have taken advanced degrees, more time and money, and my parents said I’d never make any money. Now, I’m 15 years out of school, hated engineering, so I left, and I make half as much money doing another job I can’t stand because I don’t have the schooling for anything else. I can’t go back and do it over, but I sure wish I’d have listened to my heart back then!! To my son, follow your dreams where ever they lead you.

DB

May 21st, 2010
9:17 am

@JJ: My son, too, is looking at law school. He graduates from college next year, but he is planning to take two years off, earn some money and work on the 2012 presidential campaign, and enroll in law school in fall of 2013 — he figures this is his best chance to get fully involved in a campaign before he has too many life responsibilities. We’re supporting this plan, because I am all for “life experiences.” Life is more than earning a paycheck and paying a mortgage and a car payment.

I have always been a “follow your heart” person. The most miserable people I know are those that work for a paycheck, and not from passion. For those that measure a person’s worth by their paycheck, there is always going to be some sneering about career choices. But I have yet to see where money can buy lasting happiness.

English Major

May 21st, 2010
9:17 am

My parents encouraged me to get my undergraduate degree in something that interested me (I ended up majoring in English); however, they were very clear that the undergraduate degree should not be the end of the line for my education. They supported my decision to go to a professional school (paralegal) after completing my bachelor’s degree, and they were delighted when I decided to continue my education by getting a masters degree a few years later. I will encourage my kids to do what I did: follow your heart on the undergraduate degree but be prepared to go to graduate school to make yourself employable.

commoncents

May 21st, 2010
9:20 am

Yep – Actually, I take great offense to what you said. I went to Ga Southern and got my degree from there. Turns out, they offer the same classes and degrees as those other “big boy” schools you listed! (and, in the case of Ga Tech, the SAME classes. I know, bc I was accepted to Ga Tech and then took the Ga Tech engineering classes @ Ga southern to get out of Atlanta)

I find your comments interesting about employers only caring what school they graduated from. Funny that I have Ga Southern friends (myself included) who make far more than their counterparts from UGA and GT, and have happier, more successful lives! – and not to mention less debt. Could they have been accepted to one of those other schools? Yes

“Remember, there aren’t many jobs out there now who care what school you originally went to.” You’re right about that, because most employers don’t care at all. They are concerned about what type of person you are and if they can imagine hanging out with you. People get hired for being likeable and for having the appropriate job skills, not for having an Auburn degree.

Pull your “lesser school” head out of the ground

MomsRule

May 21st, 2010
9:21 am

This is a great topic! I have 4 years before my oldest heads off to college so I am reading all comments with interest. :)

Does anyone know much about the field of animation? Or the best schools for such a career? I don’t have any personal experience in this arena. Heck, I can barely draw a stick figure.

My son is passionate about it though so I am trying to educate myself on the field options and schools. I’d like to have enough knowledge to offer some guidance to him when the time comes.

DB

May 21st, 2010
9:24 am

@JJ: Also, after my son graduates next year, he’s enrolling in a business certificate course offered by his university for non-business majors, which gives background in finance, marketing, accounting, etc. He’s very strong in math and computer-y stuff, but figured that the certificate would be a nice plus. He had no interest in majoring in business. He’s ending up with a double major in poli sci and public policy, with a minor in econ (thank you, AP classes!)

I’m sorry your daughter doesn’t want to go back to the same school — but I wonder if maybe she could go back for just one more year, and then transfer? It might be easier to transfer than having classes here, there and everywhere? I mean, are her high school friends still in town, too? Or are they away at college during the year? Nothing worse that staying at home when all your friends leave in August . . .

DB

May 21st, 2010
9:28 am

@Yep: I think you’re wrong on the school thing. There might be SOME preference on a person’s FIRST job out of college to go for “higher ranked” schools, especially for nationally-based companies. But after your first job, the school you went to becomes increasingly less a factor, and job performance takes over.

lovelyliz

May 21st, 2010
9:37 am

It doesn’t really matter what your child delclares as a major their freshman year in college because:

1. the first year or two is spent taking required classes: math, science. history etc

2. their choice of major will change at least once before they graduate

I was going to be a Pharmacist graduated with a degree in math/secondary ed and end up doing something entirely different. My sister also switched majors between her sophmore and junior years, graduated with a degree and is currently working in a field that has nothing to do with her BA
It doesn’t really matter what your child declares as a major their freshman year in college because:

1. the first year or two is spent taking required classes: math, science. history etc

2. their choice of major will change at least once before they graduate

I was going to be a Pharmacist graduated with a degree in math/secondary ed and end up doing something entirely different. My sister also switched majors between her sophomore and junior years, graduated with a degree and is currently working in a field that has nothing to do with her BA

motherjanegoose

May 21st, 2010
9:37 am

@ JJ, we cannot pay $100,000 for our son’s Pharm D degree. He loves working in the Pharmacy and has received great reviews, so I think he should do fine and be able to make enough money to pay his loan back. Is he the only one whose parents are not paying his way towards his doctorate?
I plan to retire by 65…lol.

If your daughter has demonstrated devotion for what she wants to do and diligence in her application, she should be fine…IMHO. Is she passionate about her studies?

@ CPT….We have seen several students, who have lofty ideas for a major ( i.e. pre-med) and then are not able to handle it. I KNOW I would never have made it through the courses my kids take, even in HS. I never took calculus. My son got a 5 on the calculus HS AP test and did not have to take any math in college. The science classes are a nightmare but he is doing fine and I am proud of him . Glad it is not me.

My ultimate goal is to get my kids out of my house and into their own. To me, this means they will have to find a job and make enough money to sustain themselves. Even if they have noble intentions, the job has to be there. We know many who have children that have recently graduated and cannot find a job. through no fault of their own. This seems to be prevailing and is so sad for those who have worked hard to get their degree.

Becky

May 21st, 2010
9:41 am

I didn’t attend college, so not much to offer on that..

@MJG..My niece has a degree in journalism and thank goodness hers has paid off..Of course, I probably would of strangled her if I had of been her Mother..Six months before she graduated, she told my sister that that was not what she wanted to major in..Luckily she did get her degree..She went a little different route though with her’s..She went to work for Matress Firm and worked her way up to where she is now..So any time you see (or hear) a commercial, radio ad or anything like that for Matress Firm, it’s my nieces work..

Also @MJG..The same niece, her best friend has a degree in food science..She studied at VT and loves her job..So if this is a field that your daughter goes into, I wish her all the best..

JATL

May 21st, 2010
9:41 am

Talk to them -maybe compromise with a double major. Let them follow their hearts, because they won’t be happy if they don’t! They can always go back to school on their own dime if they need to as many, many, many of us have done. Discuss what they ultimately want to do and if that will require graduate school -and what undergrad major or majors they need to get into that grad program, etc….

I agree with Photius today! I find overwhelmingly that most of us do things that have nothing to do with our degrees. Lawyers who are computer programmers; chemistry Phds who work for corporate banks; education majors doing a million different things, etc.

JATL

May 21st, 2010
9:47 am

@Theresa -that journalism degree can lead to many different opportunities -technical writing and user documentation, product marketing, research, etc. as well as being an acceptable undergrad degree for a number of graduate programs. Not to mention -you and your husband are employed, aren’t you? Whether it’s paper or digital, the world still wants its news! Someone has to investigate it, write it and report it.

I have an English degree. Many people consider this degree worthless, but I’ve worked on a technical support desk for IBM; taught high school English; worked as a project coordinator for a corporation; been a tech writer, a product marketing specialist, and now, after taking 4 years off to be home with the kids, I’m in charge of user documentation and product marketing again for a company. My “worthless” degree has always served me well!

motherjanegoose

May 21st, 2010
9:48 am

@ Becky…that is so cool for your niece at Mattress Firm. Yes, that is the degree my daughter wants to pursue too and we are excited for her.

As an education major, I never dreamed I would be doing what I do but it IS absolutely in my field. I feel blessed to be able to fine tune what I really enjoy and earn a pay check too!

JJ

May 21st, 2010
9:49 am

DB – the majority of her friends are local. The ones she graduated, most are at Gainesville, Perimeter, North Georgia, close by. Her very best friends are still in high school, and I think she really misses them the most. Plus she had a hard time being away from the family. She is very close to her two cousins.

But I wouldn’t mind if she started working, but continued to take one or two classes every semester. I think commuting to a local college would be great for her, and it would save me some money on room/board & food at the college.

Reds

May 21st, 2010
9:49 am

I read this from time to time, but am not a mom, I thought it was an interesting topic though, so I wanted to chime in. I went to school, and knew I was going to major in business, because it was practical. I wanted to major in linguistics, but didn’t want to teach, so I opted to double major in international business and french. I am now actually working within the guidelines of my major, which is different than a lot of my friends.

I wanted to chime in because of something Teresa said… “As a parent do you let your child (ie-pay for your child) to major in something they are interested in or do you try to convince them to major in something they can make a living at?”

Please keep in mind that a) not all 17/18 year olds are that immature. Also…. many parents do not pay for their childs college education. I know y’all want your kids to be successful, but there are ways to do it without threatening not to pay for college. If a kid wants to major in drama so badly, let them pay for it.

JATL

May 21st, 2010
9:51 am

@MJG -pharmacists do quite well, so he should have no problem paying back his loans! They are also in demand and have a wide variety of work environments to choose from out there. I do NOT enjoy chemistry, or I would have seriously considered going to pharmacy school. I know many who did and came out making good money and are doing very well today.

JATL

May 21st, 2010
9:57 am

@Momsrule -check out SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) -I’ve heard people deride it over the years, but I also know about 5 people who graduated from there, and they’ve always done well! I’m sure they have an arts and animation department. The people I know who went there are graphic artists and designers.

Dingy

May 21st, 2010
10:01 am

I was fortunate in that I love what I do and it is a higher paying profession. I have a B.S. in Accounting and a Masters in Tax (I know, nerdy). My husband, on the other hand, has a B.A. in Social Psychology. He went into manufacturing out of college as he had the background and his initial job in the psychology field paid less than his high school brother made working at Blockbuster. That was 11 years ago, though. He also graduated in Dec. 2008 with an MBA from Auburn after working hard for 3 years (including pre-requisites for business school admission) and being laid off in August 2008. He still swears he uses his Social Psych degree more than he uses anything he learned in his Master’s program. However, he still doesn’t have a job after being laid off in 2008. There are TONS of opportunities out there for MBAs with a business focused undergrad, but none for a liberal arts undergrad. So, don’t go in without looking toward the future. He is always commenting on whether he should go back another 2 years (he’s 37) and get an accounting or finance undergrad.

abc

May 21st, 2010
10:07 am

You should not consider a college degree a ticket to whatever salary you want. If you don’t have a desire to become an expert in a particular field or area, you’re just another victim of marketing.

I studied music, travelled with a variety of internationally known acts for 10 years and the best year I had was $35K, in 1992. Now I’m in technology and make 3 times the national average. I doing pretty well in tech not because of my degree, but because of personal interest and extreme motivation, coupled with some excellent experience, and luck. In neither career did I make the choice based on income expectations. If that had been my criteria, I would have failed. Without personal interest and motivation, you’re just another drone, and you’re unlikely to achieve the salary you desire.

lmno

May 21st, 2010
10:10 am

My child is only 7 and my thoughts probably will change. However, if he was graduating highschool right now, I would encourage him to not pick a major at all his freshman year. No matter the major, there are a lot of classes that everyone must take.

Where he would attend college would also depend on how much of an academic he is at that point in his life. If he is in the top 10 of his highschool class and very passionate about studies, I would encourage him to attend a highly respected school right away and continue those studies. However, if he is merely a slightly above average student, I would encourage him to attend community college and to live at home for two years. I see no reason to spend tons of money on a college education if you are simply going to go to business school for 4 years and then try to find a job. If, on the other hand, you are incredibly gifted and can contribute something greater, then by all means go to a great school.

abc

May 21st, 2010
10:10 am

…and, I still play concerts and private parties on a regional basis. No clubs. I’m really still a jazz player, but I don’t have to rely upon it for a living. I get to play for the joy and love of it; and, I have a fascinating job that pays pretty well. I’m a lucky guy!

TechMom

May 21st, 2010
10:14 am

@MJG we have a friend with a masters from UGA’s Food Science program and she works in product development for Chick-Fil-A. She LOVES her job. So I guess don’t assume that culinary degrees means she’s going to be a chef or head cook at a restaraunt. I think too as food begins to come to the forefront of American’s and their health, this could become a very in-demand career.

Uconn

May 21st, 2010
10:18 am

@momsrule … Look at Full Sail in Winter Park FL.

TechMom

May 21st, 2010
10:22 am

@lovelyliz while I agree that you don’t have to declare a major your freshmen year, by your sophomore year it becomes rather important. Liberal arts, BA and BS degrees usually require different levels of foundation courses. While most require the same basic first 2 english courses and a lit course, some require Calculus while others might just require Math for Business or non-Calculus based statistics. I thought I was going to major in Math and even though I hadn’t declared a major, by the time I did (Business), I had already taken Cal I & II. Those ended up counting as electives. Plus most liberal arts degrees require foreign language or fine arts classes whereas some BA programs didn’t require any of that. I don’t consider those Cal classes a waste now that my son is in HS (I am having to re-learn it a bit but at least I’m not starting from scratch) but it was a little disturbing to have Cal I & II for electives!

DB

May 21st, 2010
10:25 am

@Jill: My daughter is majoring in music therapy – she knew she wasn’t strong enough to be a successful performance major, but music is her passion, and I always thought she’d gravitate towards one of the “helping” fields. Sure enough! Her coursework is the program is defined from first semester fireshman year and it’s a bear — 16-19 hours a semester and lots of clinicals starting her sophomore year next year. But she loves it. She’s in summer school this summer to knock out some core classes and reduce the load a bit next year.

Reds

May 21st, 2010
10:29 am

hit enter before the b) I make a decent living, but it is not my passion, and I do not love my job. I don’t dread it, but I would much rather being doing something i love for less money than something i don’t love and making good money.

TechMom

May 21st, 2010
10:39 am

Maybe I’m just too practical. I don’t love my job but I love the life the it allows me to live. It is a means to an end. I don’t live to work, I work to live. My job is not awful but I don’t get any great fulfillment out of it. What I do outside of work fulfills me (being a mom, a wife, working with the youth at our church, friends, traveling, etc.) I feel like so many people let their jobs define their happiness (like my husband) and it frustrates me. If you have a job you enjoy, that’s great but planning to work in a field that isn’t your passion (I never had one quite frankly so maybe that’s why I don’t get it), but will provide a nice income and allow you to you reach your other goals in life isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

abc

May 21st, 2010
10:40 am

DB, I looked into music therapy way back then too, and was volunteering in a children’s ward at a state mental hospital to see what it was like, and decided it just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a very strong player when I arrived at music school, but was when I left. That’s what it’s for. You don’t have to exhibit an extreme natural gift to be a successful professional player — in fact, most only get there by a LOT of hard work, practice, and study.

That said, music therapy can be a wonderful field to be in, if that’s one’s ideal — but if a fallback position due to a perception of insufficient talent, maybe not. Go for what you really want, or live with regrets.

Spacey

May 21st, 2010
11:00 am

What’s so wrong with a little reality? Although, no guarantee they will listen.

I wanted to be an Art major. My Father steered me in another direction.
He bluntly told me about so many of his retail workers at the store and how most of them were Art Majors. Many started working with him when they were in school. They graduate and cannot find a job and continue to work for him for another 20 years.
I thought of that and changed my major.
Although, I did pick another major on the low end list – Journalism! I love it and I make a good living. Art is a fun hobby for me :)
I will advise my children in the same manner.

lovelyliz

May 21st, 2010
11:08 am

motherjanegoose

I heard this advice given out to parents who were considering financing their child’s college education using their retirement $: DON’T DO IT. Instead let them use whatever financing option are available and if after graduation you want to help them pay on their loans, fine, but don’t risk your retirement.

Besides, your kids are adult and have to learn to make their own way eventually.