August 18, 2011
(Christopher Borgione, City Weekly) — College enrollment involves endless decision making: whether or not to pledge to a fraternity or sorority, whether to move out, how to balance a social life with schoolwork and manage finances, what classes to take—the list is endless. One of the most important decisions for a college student, though, is choosing a major.
The University of Utah, for example, offers dozens of majors ranging from chemistry to art history to communication. Picking a major may be a monster of a decision, but with the years of study a degree requires, it must be asked: Does an undergraduate degree really matter?
“I know students feel that pressure” of picking a major as soon as they’re enrolled in college, says Pat Reilly, career services counselor at the U of U. Reilly encourages students to spend their first semester, or even their first two semesters, exploring and experimenting with a variety of different academic pursuits to determine what they’re interested in. Finding subject that students like and don’t like, Reilly says, will help them in picking a major that they will benefit from.
It’s important for students to know that some majors, like architecture, pretty much describe what your career will be post-graduation. Whereas with a liberal-arts major, like history, Reilly says, it’s important for students to be able to explain why their major is important to them and know ahead of time what types of jobs will be available to them after they graduate.
Laura Chukanov works for the nonprofit High Road for Human Rights, where her job as the team and membership director is to motivate volunteers and team members to encourage decision makers to protect human rights. While studying at the U of U, she majored in international studies and minored in both leadership studies and art history. “I enjoyed the coursework and the opportunities that the major encouraged me to seek out,” says Chukanov.
Throughout her time at the U of U, Chukanov wasn’t thinking about jobs—she was more interested in the coursework. She did, however, know that she wanted to one day work for a nonprofit organization with a humanitarian focus. Chukanov thinks that it’s important for students to seek opportunities like internships while in school so that they graduate with actual experience to bring to an employer. Chukanov says what she majored in matters in terms of what she’s doing careerwise now, but what one does with that major outside of the classroom also matters. More…Posted by: psilberman