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Unexpected change of Major once in college. Would you be upset?

changing majors undecided

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#1 dereksurfs

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 06:38 PM

All,

 

I have a question for you as parents regarding your son or daughter's stated majors of choice as you've planned for college. I know some of you have kids in college currently. What happens if all the plans you've made including the college selection process based upon their major changes once in college? Obviously, some kids simply don't know what they want to major in. So, I'm not speaking about this demographic of undeclared majors. 

 

Let's say you worked, toiled, spent considerable time and money to get your DC into a school which has an excellent program for their area of study. Then, after a few semesters they discover that its not really what they want to do at all? In fact, they pick something completely different! For example, they go in as a math major and then decide to switch into theater arts instead? This may even entail switching colleges for that other new major. Would you potentially be upset?

 

Ok, let's open the question up a bit further to include less extreme changes. Maybe the change simply means significantly more time than expected in UG. What if the change would not be something 'you' necessarily would have recommended? Let's say its an area with far more graduates than there are jobs, etc...? And they don't want to go into teaching that subject (literature, music, history, philosophy, etc...). They simply just like studying that area more.

 

If your kids did take an unexpected turn from their original plans, were there any challenges for you as a family, especially if finances were a consideration? Or did you just embrace those changes and move on. BTW, this is a hypothetical question. Though its one I'm looking at from a parent's perspective for the first time as opposed to that young college student who loved to change majors.  :D  ;)


Edited by dereksurfs, 04 December 2017 - 04:41 AM.

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#2 wapiti

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 06:59 PM

I think it's to be expected.  I've read some huge percentage, like >50%, change majors in college.  In the abstract, I'd say it's their life; outside of the abstract, it gets much more complicated.  And yet, in the big picture, many people work in fields that do not directly involve the major.

 

Also keep in mind that some loved subjects (e.g. history) that are not intended for a career in the long run can be minors or even just hobbies (as dh demonstrates - so much history reading that the kindle has become a body part).


Edited by wapiti, 03 December 2017 - 09:09 PM.

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#3 JenneinAZ

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:08 PM

We have this situation, sort of. My daughter started at her school intending on a Civil Engineering major. That part hasn’t changed. But she decided to do a Global Studies program thing that combines a science major and a foreign language major. It also takes an extra year and her fourth year is spent in a foreign country. Eek!

We expected four years of school. She will be doing five and one of them is in Germany! Thanks to the school’s guaranteed tution program her college costs don’t change for the fifth year, but the scholarship that cuts a significant amount from the total is only good for four years and we will be expected to pay the extra for that fifth year. The school is trying to get a waiver for the kids in this particular program to be able to keep the scholarship for that last year. Right now there are about 80 kids in the program all together and not all of them will make it to the fifth year. We are hopeful that the waiver will exist by the time we get there. If not, then I think we are going to have to deal with it. The opportunity is just that unique.

More stressful is the reality of dealing with potentially all three of the kids in college at once. We knew the older two would be there at the same time. But if she takes long enough for the youngest to be in college too... That could be interesting.
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#4 madteaparty

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:09 PM

Well my DS thinks he will major in English. I don't think I will shed a river of tears if he changes his mind.*
*we are not rich enough to afford an artist, despite evident talent and discipline.
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#5 happysmileylady

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:10 PM

I was p!ssed. 

 

I  didn't do the work to get DD21 into school.  I mean, I took her on college visits, made sure she was aware of testing dates, deadlines, I paid test fees, etc etc.  BUT....it was more than she did it, and I helped, vs I "worked, toiled," and so on.  For my DD21, school was about HER...and not about me.  As such, she carried the bulk of the responsibility, not me, and while I was part of the process....it wasn't my process.

 

Anyway, she had a specific major she wanted.  She also had a state scholarship that required she go to a state school....so that limited her choice already.  Then, she had a specific major, that despite the fact that all of us check the weather every day, that isn't all that common among colleges.....turns out that there are only THREE schools in the state that offer meteorology.

 

In her sophmore year, she changed to GIS.  And I was P.O.'d.  Big time.

 

BUT....BUT....my anger had NOTHING to do with the school she chose, the help I provided in supporting her college quest.  

 

I was P.O'd because I believed.....and still do....that her boyfriend at the time convinced her that she wasn't smart enough to do the math classes required for meteorology.  In fact, within 2 months of dumping him, she was talking about her prospects for getting a masters in meteorology.   My kid's dream, from the time she was like 8, was to do field work in weather. 

 

In fact, one of the reasons for choosing Ball State over Purdue was the storm chase team Ball State offered.  And this past summer....she DID the storm chase team.  And LOVED it.  LOVED it.  Have you ever seen someone lit up by their passion?   Yeah.

 

 

 

My DD did a lot of research before making her switch.  And the truth is, GIS expands her options for job prospects, still allows her to work with the NWS, and hits on what she has enjoyed most about working in the weather industry (she has done a job shadow of a broadcast meteorologist, an internship at the NWS her senior year, multiple workshops, camps, etc.  This was her goal and she pursued it with a passion.)  She loves the computer aspect of it.  The maps and models, etc.  So I am truly proud of her for making sure she could be happy with that route. 

 

I just felt like she took "the easy way out" and did so because her BF convinced her she wasn't good enough to do the work required to actually achieve her dream.

 

 

 

When she told me....I admit, I lost my cool.  I screamed and hollared and threw a fit. 

 

But that was it.  One time.  She presented her arguments reasonably and with plenty of evidence and research (aka, she had practical and reasonable reasons....not just a whim.)  But I KNEW........I KNEW....what was going on behind it.  And as such, I told her.....I am going to say my piece, and then be done.  And I did.  Because, ultimately, it REALLY IS, her life.  It's not my money.  It's not my career.  I have wasted nothing.  All I wanted was for her to follow her dreams. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will say....her call to me about her possibilities for a masters in meteorology reminded me....just because she gets a BA in whatever, that doesn't mean she can't follow her dreams later.  She CAN still get a masters in meteorology.  Even if that's 10 yrs from now.  I KNOW that what you chose at 22 doesn't dictate the rest of your life......I had her at 17, DH graduated college at 45, I got a teaching degree at 22 and haven't taught in a classroom setting in more than a decade, my BIL was finishing his final exams as my sister was in labor with my nephew......I KNOW...KNOW...life throws lots and lots of twists and turns at you.  To paraphrase a STUPID commercial for a for profit college around here....."Living Life Is Never Easy, And It's Never A Straight Line."    Just because she has set aside the "BA in meteorology" path......that doesn't mean she can't eventually end up at her end goal......just because she doesn't follow a straight line, that doesn't mean she can't get there.

 

 

 

And even then, if she ends up with some great career in GIS that has nothing to do with meteorology but ultimately fulfills her...THAT is completely fine too. 

 

I just want her to make these choices because that's what she wants, not because her BF encourages her to be...................................................................basic.   She is anything but basic. 


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#6 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:11 PM

Agree with Wapiti. Also...

 

1.  I might feel upset (probably a lot of frustration, too, if that much time and effort had been put into it) but I would not take that out on my child.  I think this is normal.  It is very hard to be 100% certain of what you want to do when you are a teenager. Also, it is exceedingly hard to KNOW that something that seems great from the outside looking in will ACTUALLY be a good fit once a person starts down that path in a concrete way.

 

2.  If it means that there will be additional cost, for whatever reason, I would be very matter of fact, no guilt trip, on what would still be available as far as funds go. 

 

3.  Frankly, I would rather my child found out BEFORE they got a degree in something they strongly dislike and started into a field that is a bad fit.  During college they have an opportunity to switch tracks more easily.  Maybe they will find something they are truly happy doing. 

 

4.  Now certainly if the field is hard to get a job in I would absolutely want to have a frank discussion with my child and encourage them to look into it themselves, seek out information on how many actual jobs are available vs. graduates with that degree. But ultimately it is their life and it may take time for them to find their place in it.

 

And hugs to parents dealing with this scenario.  Parenting is not for the faint of heart.  :)


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#7 rdj2027

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:23 PM

Our son changed from law to physics.  We told him in the beginning that we will pay for 10 semesters.  Law was a 9 semester degree, physics takes 6 semesters so if he makes it through on the first run, he will finish in the same time frame (physics has only two elective courses so while they will accept two of his law classes for his physics degree, he still had to basically start from scratch).  We expect our kids to change majors, both my husband and I did as well. 


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#8 creekland

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:40 PM

I guess we were those parents.  We put a bit of time into searching to find a southern Marine Science school when youngest was certain he wanted to major in it.  He's been my biology, flora and fauna, lad since toddlerhood, scuba certified since age 10 (as young as he could) so we went with it.  We found Eckerd.  It seemed perfect.

 

Less than a month (maybe week) after starting, he decided Marine Bio was too specific for him.  He just wanted Bio.  Ok, not a problem.  Somewhere in that first year he decided he didn't really want Bio.  He likes flora and fauna, but not majoring in it and research was a bit too boring for him when done "correctly."  He wasn't sure what would be next.  

 

Having been told he should try out for acting and getting a part in a few plays on campus, he decided to become a Theater Major.  "Ok son, but be wary about jobs."  "I will be."

 

The following semester or year he started taking Arabic, and fell in love with the language.  Now he's an International Studies major (or something like that) and thoroughly enjoying himself in Jordan picking up more of the language than classes in the US teach.

 

He graduates this coming spring.  I'm not sure what job he is going to take yet.  He has two standing offers, but now there's a young lass involved too (a nice young lass), and she's not where the jobs are.

 

Time will tell where life takes him.

 

We've been supportive the whole way.  I can't see stopping.  It's fun following his life and seeing where it leads.  He's had a blast along the way.

 

No regrets.  If he'd wanted to change colleges, that could have happened too, but he's loved Eckerd and his time there so just changing majors was all that was needed - no extra time.


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#9 MerryAtHope

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:56 PM

All,

 

I have a question for you as parents regarding you son or daughter's stated majors of choice as you've planned for college. I know some of you have kids in college right currently. What happens if all the plans you've made including the college selection process based upon their major changes once in college? 

 

A lot of people try to build this possibility into the college selection process. Many, perhaps most, kids will change majors. Expect it and plan for it. 

 

 

Let's say you worked, toiled, spent considerable time and money to get your DC into a school which has an excellent program for their area of study. Then, after a few semesters they discover that its not really what they want to do at all? In fact, they pick something completely different! For example, they go in as a math major and then decide to switch into theater arts instead? This may even entail switching colleges for that other new major. Would you potentially be upset?

 

Our situation is not that tightly orchestrated (our kids start at a CC for their Associate's and then will transfer to a 4- year school...So the HOPE is that by then they'll know! I'll advise my kids not to transfer yet if they aren't sure, just because there's limited money set aside and they'll have to take out loans to make up the rest. We won't be able to help year-to-year except with little things like transportation and books.

 

I do confess that while I'm bracing myself for the possibility, I hope my dd doesn't change her mind! Not because of any logistics but because it's so much less stressful to me personally if they know and the path is clear! I don't want both kids to be undecided, LOL! But...I know it's possible and will keep that little tidbit to myself, a few friends, and the WTM world, LOL!

 

 

 

Ok, let's open the question up a bit further to include less extreme changes. Maybe the change simply means significantly more time than expected in UG. What if the change would not be something 'you' necessarily would have recommended? Let's say its an area with far more graduates than there are jobs, etc...? And they don't want to go into teaching that subject (literature, music, history, philosophy, etc...). They simply just like studying that area more.

 

At that point, it's our kids' choice. We advise and lay out possibilities, but other than the money we set aside, how long they take to complete the degree, whether they switch majors, whether it's a strong field with good job prospects...these are their choices. I will say that I'm still a believer in the Liberal Arts education, and think it has value and benefits even though the career path is not one that's clearly laid out. So, that choice actually doesn't bother me at all (it probably intimidates my oldest much more than it does me--he wants a clear plan, and I just don't think life always offers one!)

 

 

 

If your kids did take an unexpected turn from their original plans, were there any challenges for you as a family, especially if finances were a consideration? Or did you just embrace those changes and move on. BTW, this is a hypothetical question. Though its one I'm looking at from a parent's perspective for the first time as opposed to that young college student who loved to change majors.  :D  ;)

 

It can be so much more costly now to change directions than it was back when I went to school! So, there is some intimidation involved, definitely! I would really like my kids to complete either a Bachelor's degree or enter some kind of trade. I'm fine with a gap year between the Associate's and going back to complete a Bachelor's if they work or have some kind of purpose for that year. There would probably be sparks if they wanted to stay home and play video games for a year, LOL! Other than that, we can only set them up so much in our situation, and they're going to have to make choices and then live with those choices. We just want to walk alongside and cheer them on (and will try not to freak out internally too much in the process!) (I do have a "freak-out" week about twice a year where I try to figure out my kids' future for them. When I realize it's futile, I go back to being content for another 6 months or so. And pray. Pray lots! :-). ) 

 

 

 

Edited by MerryAtHope, 03 December 2017 - 07:58 PM.

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#10 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 08:28 PM

Would I be upset? Not at all. It is my adult child’s future, not mine. But my children pay most of their college expenses because we don’t have the money so I don’t have any financial strings attached .

I gave them a stellar K-12 education - relatively speaking-it obviously wasn’t perfect- but I feel like they got a solid liberal arts foundation. A college degree is their business though I support them in many ways to help make it possible if that is what they want. I think that there is benefit to any higher education degree. I have faith in their good character and work ethic though separate from any possible degree.


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Edited by Jean in Newcastle, 03 December 2017 - 09:35 PM.

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#11 elegantlion

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 08:31 PM

I was a little surprised when ds changed his mind, he had not officially declared his major,  however. Finances and location were driving factors in his school choice and he did have some turmoil when trying to decide what to change to, he settled on math. He considered physics, but that would have meant transferring as our school doesn't have a major in physics (I know!). He really didn't like the hands on of engineering and wanted more theoretical. He's very happy with his chosen major now, he may also minor in computer science. I was more surprised he didn't choose computer science. 

 

From my viewpoint there were several factors, he needed good math instruction (long story) and learning from professors who were passionate about math helped. He needed to experience engineering classes to realize they weren't his thing. The career options have some overlap, so his options are still similar. 

 

For me, I'm glad he decided. I have never made  him stick to something just because he thought it might work a few years earlier. 

 

 


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#12 Starr

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 09:33 PM

I think these changes bother us even more because college is so expensive.


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#13 dereksurfs

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 09:34 PM

We have this situation, sort of. My daughter started at her school intending on a Civil Engineering major. That part hasn’t changed. But she decided to do a Global Studies program thing that combines a science major and a foreign language major. It also takes an extra year and her fourth year is spent in a foreign country. Eek!

We expected four years of school. She will be doing five and one of them is in Germany! Thanks to the school’s guaranteed tution program her college costs don’t change for the fifth year, but the scholarship that cuts a significant amount from the total is only good for four years and we will be expected to pay the extra for that fifth year. The school is trying to get a waiver for the kids in this particular program to be able to keep the scholarship for that last year. Right now there are about 80 kids in the program all together and not all of them will make it to the fifth year. We are hopeful that the waiver will exist by the time we get there. If not, then I think we are going to have to deal with it. The opportunity is just that unique.

More stressful is the reality of dealing with potentially all three of the kids in college at once. We knew the older two would be there at the same time. But if she takes long enough for the youngest to be in college too... That could be interesting.

 

Jenne,

 

Yes, that's a significant change. I can relate to the stress in thinking about having three in college at the same time especially with our limited finances available for each child.

 

How did she even discover this major if you don't mind me asking? What you've just described sounds a lot like what our middle daughter would love. She's decided upon her own that she wants to learn German and talks about wanting to study abroad. And she's only 13. I'm not sure where she got these ideas. I also couldn't help but notice you are currently in CA while daughter is attending Northern Arizona U. I"m curious if you were able to take advantage of the WUE? I've seen them on the list of participating universities


Edited by dereksurfs, 03 December 2017 - 09:39 PM.


#14 J-rap

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 09:51 PM

Well, I kind of expected it with a couple.  We committed to paying for four years, and if a late major change meant more time, then they might be paying for it themselves.  

 

One child changed her major after she graduated though.  Hmmm...  

 

 


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#15 dereksurfs

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 09:54 PM

When she told me....I admit, I lost my cool.  I screamed and hollared and threw a fit. 

 

But that was it.  One time.  She presented her arguments reasonably and with plenty of evidence and research (aka, she had practical and reasonable reasons....not just a whim.)  But I KNEW........I KNEW....what was going on behind it.  And as such, I told her.....I am going to say my piece, and then be done.  And I did.  Because, ultimately, it REALLY IS, her life.  It's not my money.  It's not my career.  I have wasted nothing.  All I wanted was for her to follow her dreams. 

 

I will say....her call to me about her possibilities for a masters in meteorology reminded me....just because she gets a BA in whatever, that doesn't mean she can't follow her dreams later.  She CAN still get a masters in meteorology.  Even if that's 10 yrs from now.  I KNOW that what you chose at 22 doesn't dictate the rest of your life......I had her at 17, DH graduated college at 45, I got a teaching degree at 22 and haven't taught in a classroom setting in more than a decade, my BIL was finishing his final exams as my sister was in labor with my nephew......I KNOW...KNOW...life throws lots and lots of twists and turns at you.  To paraphrase a STUPID commercial for a for profit college around here....."Living Life Is Never Easy, And It's Never A Straight Line."    Just because she has set aside the "BA in meteorology" path......that doesn't mean she can't eventually end up at her end goal......just because she doesn't follow a straight line, that doesn't mean she can't get there.

...

I just want her to make these choices because that's what she wants, not because her BF encourages her to be...................................................................basic.   She is anything but basic. 

 

Thank you for sharing your daughter's story.

 

I could definitely imagine being upset especially if it was my daughter who I raised and knew so well. So much more than some ... boy.  You watched her grow and know her dreams, all the things she participated in and enjoyed.

 

I totally get that you only want to help her to follow her dreams. I also fully understand that life is 'messy' and not always straight line. I know my life has been anything but a straight line. However, all those turns we take can actually help us grow and become more well rounded.


Edited by dereksurfs, 03 December 2017 - 09:55 PM.


#16 JenneinAZ

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:09 PM

Jenne,

Yes, that's a significant change. I can relate to the stress in thinking about having three in college at the same time especially with our limited finances available for each child.

How did she even discover this major if you don't mind me asking? What you've just described sounds a lot like what our middle daughter would love. She's decided upon her own that she wants to learn German and talks about wanting to study abroad. And she's only 13. I'm not sure where she got these ideas. I also couldn't help but notice you are currently in CA while daughter is attending Northern Arizona U. I"m curious if you were able to take advantage of the WUE? I've seen them on the list of participating universities.


Hi

She discovered the program in a presentation at student orientation. She did not apply to Northern Arizona University with the program in mind. It kind of fell into her lap. The biggest issue was that she needed to enter her freshman year taking Calculus and had just missed the ACT score to get automatic entry. She had taken College Algebra at the community college and precalc at home, but needed the score on a placement test. It was a major stress point. Ultimately she took their placement test and got into calculus but it was about three weeks before classes started that we found out. (She was in a special summer program for kids that wanted/needed to get a score on the placement test. It involved a tutor from the school and an Aleks-like computer program. All free to us!)

She is in the WUE program. The WUE part of the tutition is the part that is discounted for the fifth year. It is the GOLD scholarship that is not good for the fifth year. That one is based on the ACT score when she applied. NAU is working on trying to get their institution scholarship extended to deal with these kids.


I hope that helps.
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#17 WoolySocks

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 11:41 PM

This wouldn’t bother me at all. It’s part of the reason I’d love my kid to be looking at LACs over music.

A close relative of mine majored in meteorology. That’s all he wanted to do from age 5. He did on air weather for 5 years. It wasn’t what he was expecting at all. He is doing something completely different now. Sometimes young adults change course after college.
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#18 dereksurfs

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 12:12 AM

This wouldn’t bother me at all. It’s part of the reason I’d love my kid to be looking at LACs over music.

A close relative of mine majored in meteorology. That’s all he wanted to do from age 5. He did on air weather for 5 years. It wasn’t what he was expecting at all. He is doing something completely different now. Sometimes young adults change course after college.

 

Yes, I totally get this. Not only do I understand what your relative went through, I've actually lived it reinventing myself several times vocationally. I did something totally different on the graduate level. I joke with my kids that I've had more majors than I can count. So they know as do I that its likely they could change majors or even waffle a bit while trying to figure things out. Its actually pretty normal with college students in discovering their interests.

 

The point of the thread is more about being on the other side of that now as a parent and some of the challenges that can arise with these types of changes. The big difference for me as a college student was that it was *all* on me financially since my parents couldn't afford to contribute. So those decisions and associated costs I owned completely whether I understood fully the impact of things like student loans. Now that we will be helping our kids attend college, there are limits to what we'll be able to afford. So there is a financial aspect for us as parents as well as other considerations.

 

In addition, as they say, hindsight is 20/20 when looking back on the various paths one's taken along with lessons learned. I hope I can teach our kids some of those lessons like being more aware of the downsides to excessive debt, etc... Or trying to find a job with a major that might not be that practical on its own without graduate work, for example.

 

But even after all that they could totally change their professional goals, make seemingly big blunders and still land on their feet. I don't doubt that at all.


Edited by dereksurfs, 04 December 2017 - 12:20 AM.


#19 Gwen in VA

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 12:38 AM

Four out of four of mine have changed paths in college.

 

#1 did a dramatic change of career path (from art conservation to engineering) but in order to apply to Ph.D. programs in engineering she merely needed to add some classes her senior year. Not a big deal.

 

#2 kept on adding majors. He started out as economics/public policy and added math and philosophy along the way. He got a master's in data analysis and now works as a software programmer. Talk about shifts!

 

#3 dropped out after a year because he didn't feel that college would help him pursue his dreams. He is now 24, and his dropping out seems to have helped jump-start his life -- he has a successful career in the field of his dreams, he owns a house, and he is married.

 

#4 started out as a math / music double major at a LAC. After a semester, she decided to focus on music. She transferred to a conservatory and should graduate right on track despite the transfer.


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#20 EmilyGF

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 12:57 AM

A friend of mine changed rather dramatically.

 

He had a full scholarship to a private university for voice. Within the first year he realized he didn't want study voice. That would mean losing his full scholarship. So his parents basically told him he could do what he wanted, but he needed to transfer to a state school because that would be a lot cheaper. He did so.

 

I changed my major a few times. But they were all very similar (chemical engineering to physics to geophysics to applied physics) so it wasn't an issue. 

Emily


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#21 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 01:12 AM

I would rather have a lasting relationship with my adult children. I can’t imagine having much of one if I try to manage their choices even as young adults. Perhaps our family is particularly independent but while they do ask for and respect my advice, they have a strong sense of boundaries which I share. Part of that includes us providing what we can financially and they taking care of any financial fallout from a change of plans. But those plans have to be owned by my kids because my kids do best when they are working for their own goals in these young adult years.


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#22 dereksurfs

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 02:03 AM

Four out of four of mine have changed paths in college.

 

#1 did a dramatic change of career path (from art conservation to engineering) but in order to apply to Ph.D. programs in engineering she merely needed to add some classes her senior year. Not a big deal.

 

#2 kept on adding majors. He started out as economics/public policy and added math and philosophy along the way. He got a master's in data analysis and now works as a software programmer. Talk about shifts!

 

#3 dropped out after a year because he didn't feel that college would help him pursue his dreams. He is now 24, and his dropping out seems to have helped jump-start his life -- he has a successful career in the field of his dreams, he owns a house, and he is married.

 

#4 started out as a math / music double major at a LAC. After a semester, she decided to focus on music. She transferred to a conservatory and should graduate right on track despite the transfer.

 

Wow, four out of four! Your #1 daughter made a huge shift form art to engineering. I guess its hard for me to picture how that could not be a big deal. Was she always good at math and science as well artistic things growing up?

 

Your #2 son really went all over the map! lol  But then he found his niche and it sounds like it turned out nicely for him.

 

I guess as parents, we almost have to be expect it to happen. While I'm sure there are some that stick with their original major, the odds are fairly high that a change will occur from what I've seen.


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#23 dereksurfs

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 02:08 AM

An interesting study actually found that "those who were open to change their major were more likely to graduate than those who decided right away." 

 

"Most students -- as many as 80 percent in some surveys -- will switch majors at one point during their time in college. According to the report, students who made a final decision as late as the fifth term they were enrolled did not see their time to graduation increase. Even one-quarter of the students who landed on a final major during senior year graduated in four years, the EAB found.

Neither did settling on a final major during the second through eighth terms of enrollment influence students’ graduation rates. Students who declared a new major during any of those terms posted a graduation rate of between 82 and 84 percent."

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#24 quark

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 02:15 AM

You mentioned math major to theater major...for a minute there I was wondering how you knew!!! :laugh: Nah, A's not changing majors yet. In fact, A's petition to waive a math major requirement was approved and will be declaring the math major soon. BUT, I think if A does change majors, theater is a distinct possibility.

 

I'll probably be a little sad because I know how much work A has put into this journey but as long as finances are not too obviously affected I will support A as much as I can. Right now, this would be the least of my worries. If finances ARE affected, we will brainstorm ways to make it work. I might try to talk A into at least being a math tutor on the side (for future stability too). The kid will need to take responsibility for the decision but will have my support where needed to the extent that I can offer that support. I might be more worried about why the change is occurring, especially in regards to this specific kid's dogged determination about studying math. It would have to be a pretty compelling reason. That is probably what will worry me the most, what sparked it, etc. But I'm sure we'll live with the decision and work with it the best we can.


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#25 dereksurfs

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 04:19 AM

You mentioned math major to theater major...for a minute there I was wondering how you knew!!! :laugh: Nah, A's not changing majors yet. In fact, A's petition to waive a math major requirement was approved and will be declaring the math major soon. BUT, I think if A does change majors, theater is a distinct possibility.

 

I'll probably be a little sad because I know how much work A has put into this journey but as long as finances are not too obviously affected I will support A as much as I can. Right now, this would be the least of my worries. If finances ARE affected, we will brainstorm ways to make it work. I might try to talk A into at least being a math tutor on the side (for future stability too). The kid will need to take responsibility for the decision but will have my support where needed to the extent that I can offer that support. I might be more worried about why the change is occurring, especially in regards to this specific kid's dogged determination about studying math. It would have to be a pretty compelling reason. That is probably what will worry me the most, what sparked it, etc. But I'm sure we'll live with the decision and work with it the best we can.

 

Whoa, quark! How did I read your mind? lol 
 
That would be a huge switch knowing a bit of your son's journey and the decisions which led him to select Cal in the first place. But he's a super bright and passionate young man. So, it will sure be interesting to see where he goes from here. Would there be anything wrong with a double major in his case? That would be my strong preference. Math plus anything else. But I also know the UCs are pretty strict with the number of years they allow one to attend to graduate. Is your son more of an all or nothing sort of guy?

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#26 Diana P.

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 05:28 AM

As a kid who was told there were only three jobs worth considering, I felt very constrained in college. As an adult I've been at times resentful that my time in college was spent not focused on the job I really wanted and I never had the opportunity to return to study that field. I think I would have been very happy and good at that career.

So I advised my dc they would go to college. They would study anything they wanted. I only wanted them to get a degree. Oldest took five years, two transfers, two years at cc in the middle. He's now pursuing a master's. DD is in her second year and on her third major I think this one will stick--she has 4 in major classes this semester and she's already consulted advisors about grad school and internships. Neither are studying topics where job opportunities abound. Both are happy (that counts for everything in a family where fighting depression is a serious thing)
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#27 Pawz4me

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 07:23 AM

It's fairly hypothetical for us, but I would say that we wouldn't be upset, or certainly not a lot.

 

DS22 did change one of his majors, but it was a very slight and inconsequential change (from business to econ) unlikely to affect his hoped for/planned career trajectory or earnings potential.

 

First of all, we see our kids' college as their journey, not ours. That includes the work they did to get there. It was almost all their work. Sure we guided them along the way, paid for the testing and application fees and travel to visit schools and on and on. And there were all those years of homeschooling. But doing all those things were (mostly) our own choices. We're paying for it (their college), but again--that's our choice, a goal we set for ourselves before I became pregnant for the first time. That's not on them.

 

Secondly, based on the statistics of how many kids change their majors -- it wasn't exactly like we didn't go into it knowing they might/were more like than not to change.

 

Thirdly, we wouldn't want them trapped in a major/future career that made them miserable.

 

Now, extra time in college--That might be different. It's very possible we'd say any time over four years is on you.


Edited by Pawz4me, 04 December 2017 - 07:26 AM.

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#28 G5052

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 08:02 AM

I changed my major multiple times and took 5 1/2 years to get my degree, but I paid for the last three years of it. My employer paid for graduate school.

 

So I built some uncertainty in the budget like Merry. I told them upfront that I'd pay for five years, but no more. If it takes longer than that, they're going to have to borrow. I also expect part-time work unless they have medical problems. Both are going the 2+2 route with community college. 

 

Amazingly, both of mine haven't changed majors yet!


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#29 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 08:08 AM

So far all three of my college grads (or almost grads) have graduated with degrees in their original fields.

My college freshman is far less sure of herself. She had visions of world traveller until overwhelmed by homesickness this yr. Homesickness and international living are conflicting in her mind right now.

I won't be surprised if she vacillates for a while until she finds her goals.

But, our kids know that we can't afford for them to attend without their scholarship$$. So, they are on autopilot for finding their own way and need a plan to graduate on 4 yrs.

Fwiw, I try to stay fairly removed from my adult children's decisions. It is their life. The consequences of their decisions are theirs to live with. I can't imagine being mad. Frustrated? Sad for them? Realising that they may have long term regrets? Yes. Mad at them? I guess when you don't accept the responsibility for their choices, mad doesn't seem like the appropriate emotion.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 04 December 2017 - 08:10 AM.

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#30 Sassenach

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 08:54 AM

I said on repeat, over and over, you must graduate in 4 years. When I got the call about the change in major, my first question was, will you still graduate in 4 years? Frankly, my kid would have had to take a semester off between junior and senior year to go work and save up tuition money, because 4 years is a hard line. And yes, I’d be pissed as hell if my child made a change that lengthened their time in school without my input.

Otherwise, I kind of expect the changes. Most colleges seem to give a lot of wiggle room in those first 2 years, and that helps.

We did choose dd’s college based on the major she was pursuing, but the school also offered a wide swath of other great programs. (Dd switched from teaching to communications, then left school altogether, which is a whole other story).

Edited by Sassenach, 04 December 2017 - 09:08 AM.


#31 teachermom2834

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 09:12 AM

While financial considerations are huge for us, I would rather find a way to help them (or help them figure out how to pay themselves) for an extra semester/summer/ year if necessary than go down a completely wrong path just to finish in four years. I wouldn't get mad. I would be honest with them about the implications and I would brainstorm all the ways they could get where they want to go with or without changing the major. Sometimes it is better to finish up and spend the extra year in grad school. Sometimes there is another certification or path to a career. Sometimes it makes sense to switch and sometimes it doesn't.

How much dh and I would help out would depend on the situation. my sophomore ds changed his major and it shouldn't be a big problem. My response was "find out asap what you need to do to make it happen".

My dc have had over 30 hours de credit and we never sent the expectation they would graduate early. This gives me some peace of mind for them to change plans a little. I don't expect my kids to know exactly what they want. Some kids do but mine are not as positive.
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#32 Hoggirl

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 09:44 AM

It is wrong that I felt smug when ds changed his major? Lol.

Broadly speaking, depending on major, most students spend the majority of their time 1) writing papers, 2) doing p-sets, or 3) performing and writing up labs. Yes, they all do all of those things, but there always seems to be one task that becomes the bulk of what they do as they get further into their major.

Ds initially thought he wanted to do International Relations. This would have fallen into the "writing papers" category. He is much more like me than he cares to admit. ;) I knew a "writing papers" degree was not going to suit him, because it wouldn't have suited me. It's not that we *can't* write papers. Papers, however, are never quite finished. One can always re-read and edit, and re-read and edit some more. For a perfectionist, this is not the best fit. I knew ds belonged in the p-set category because the problem gets completed and you can check off its proverbial box and go to the next problem. That suits our personalities far better.

He started talking about changing majors spring quarter of his freshman year. They don't declare until the end of sophomore year. Lots of flexibility to shift because there are so many gen Ed type requirements and because so many courses are taken within a quarter system. Not all students will have as much wiggle room. While ds's school takes some AP courses, they cannot be used to fulfill gen Ed type courses. Needing to get all those provided extra time to think about this decision. One program ds was accepted to was a three-year accelerated program that would have taken all his AP courses/scores. There were hardly any gen-ed courses he would have had to take at all. He would have immediately been thrust into a full slate of degree requirements. Another was a direct admit into a specialized International Relations program that awarded him an $8,000 per year scholarship. Extricating himself from either of those would have been been more challenging and costly for sure.

Potential degree changes are a big reason that I caution against choosing a school for one particular program, especially if that is the school's most highly regarded area and has fewer offerings or a narrow focus overall.

As far as finances, for the particular school he chose he had four years. No more. He knew that going in. Finishing up in four years is not a problem at this school, but it could be at others for a variety of reasons. I don't view education from an ROI perspective. It would not have mattered to me what he chose to major in. My job in that regard was to make sure he went in with eyes wide open about likely earnings, types of lifestyles, availability of jobs, etc. To help him develop a pros/cons list so HE could make the most informed decision.

Sorry if typos - on my phone.
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#33 OnMyOwn

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 09:50 AM

I want my kids to choose whatever path is best for them. But, I will worry over certain choices and whether they will wind up happy with them in the long run. My ds has not decided what his major will be yet. Both of the directions he is thinking about relate to his hobbies and interests, but if he selects history, which is his true passion, I am going to worry that he will regret that choice down the line. I won't discourage him from it though, because maybe he can make it work and I don't want to steal that opportunity from him.

However, while I am trying to keep an open mind and let him make his own decisions, I do feel uneasy about it. It doesn't help that when I was talking to my brother a couple of weeks ago about letting my son pursue his interests, he mentioned that all the friends he has who are floundering followed their interests without being realistic. That has led me to encourage my son to take another look at getting a teacher certification if he chooses history. Teaching is a tough field to be in these days, but there are huge perks such as lots of time off and a pension plan.
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#34 Momto2Ns

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:01 AM

If/when my kids change majors, it is their concern as long as they recognize the financial limits we have for them finishing school :)

 

Ds started with a writing major. We research schools based on creative writing programs. After he started, he realized he didn't like creative writing classes because there was too much unwanted structure/ forced topic etc. He'd taken all the creative writing classes required already, so he kept the major, but added multimedia production which was in the communications department. This used to be a journalism/production degree and while he loved the technical classes, he hated the journalism focused writing. So, he dropped that major and decided wanted to add a Graphic Design major - but by then couldn't finish that in 4 years, so he added a graphic design minor instead. He did add an English major to his Writing major because it was easy to do. His minors have been a crazy ride too. He started thinking he would minor in Asian studies (he took Japanese at the local state U DE during high school). Then switched to philosophy just because he enjoyed it and was taking the classes anyway, then got tired of philosophy (2 classes short of the minor) and added the graphic design minor. I think I'm leaving out one minor somewhere there, but you get the idea. Through all of that, he will still graduate in 4 years with a double major and a minor and he is happy. That's all I ask.  


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#35 Heigh Ho

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:05 AM

One of mine switched at the send of semester three from business to science.  He liked his U, his advisor was good with elective choice, and he spent 2 summers taking classes in order to grad in 4.  Didn't matter that he did summer classes instead of internships as no one was hiring during the recession and his on campus job was just fine for his purposes.  He didn't want to take more than 4, wanted to get on with life.  Engineering management is the type of major he needed, but school didn't offer, but that's okay as the technical electives made him attractive to employers and he can get his master's in e.m.  or  business.  The only waste was that he had to take six credit of foreign language with the new major, and the language he wanted didn't have sections that fit with his req'd courses, so he just continued his high school language choice. 


Edited by Heigh Ho, 04 December 2017 - 10:07 AM.


#36 Matryoshka

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:06 AM

I do think it's 'normal' to change your major, as it does seem the majority of people do it!

 

I changed my major once, but when I speculated that it might take me an extra year to make up a new one (I hadn't quite decided what the new one would be, just that the old one wasn't it), my mother asked me how I was planning on paying for that.  That woke me up.  I ended up doing a make-your-own interdisciplinary major that could use some of the classes from my original major with other classes I was more interested in.

 

One of my dds seems on track to stay the course.  The only change she's made so far is adding a second (closely related) major to the original one.  She will take 5 years, but that will include two paid coops, so still only paying for four (and earning for one).

 

The other dd has already changed her major and transferred.  But ironically, she's likely to graduate a year early - this is because she did a lot of DE and because her humanities major doesn't have a lot of pre-reqs even for the upper level classes.  She is likely going to grad school, so she figures she should just get started on that.  But we shall see if that sticks.  She had a bit of a panic the other day about the marketability of her major (Linguistics/Philosophy), but it does leave open the possibility of going into Computational Linguistics, which is marketable outside of academia.  She doesn't take her first class in that till next fall, though, so it remains to be seen if she'll even like the field.  And she'd have to learn how to program.

 

Third dd seems to really want a Business degree.  She's working on her AS, but she's only just about to turn 17, so lots of time for things to evolve...


Edited by Matryoshka, 04 December 2017 - 10:09 AM.

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#37 yvonne

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:15 AM

It would not bother me at all.

 

As to choosing a major and worrying about whether it will guarantee or help with job prospects after college, I don't worry about that, either. I guess I'm pretty firmly in the camp of an intelligent, diligent, self-driven, well-educated person is going to be able to successfully make their own path, regardless of what their major was in college. I have no issues at all with a liberal arts undergrad degree. In fact, I think that it not only shapes the soul of the student, but it also gives the student more options down the road.  Yep, if he wants to be a nuclear engineer, it's going to take targeted work & study in sciences, but it will take that whether or not he was a liberal arts major. It will simply take longer & I'm ok with that.

 

These questions make me think of Steve Jobs' speech on Connecting the Dots.

 

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

 

 

Having the benefit of more life experience than my kids, I can give them data points to consider in their choices, and I can try to help them achieve their goals, whatever those may be at any given point. But I don't think it would be realistic to expect that a goal set as a 19 year old is necessarily the goal they'll have after having had further classes and experiences. Even if they did have the same goal, I don't think it would be realistic to expect that they will take a straight path to it. 

 

Just like it took a big leap of faith for me to start home schooling and then to decide to continue home schooling for high school, I think it's going to take me a big leap of faith in my kids to trust them to make the best decisions they can along their path. I can't control the outcome; I can only give them points to consider. I would never be upset if they started down a path, realized it wasn't for them, and changed direction. (Or so I think now. Maybe this is one of those "I knew everything there was to know about parenting until I had children of my own" things. LOL)


Edited by yvonne, 04 December 2017 - 11:26 AM.

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#38 Crimson Wife

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:31 AM

One child changed her major after she graduated though.  Hmmm...  

 

I did that and wound up going back to school for a 2nd bachelor's. My 1st alma mater didn't offer the major even if it had been of interest in my early 20's. I could have done the classes as a 3rd year on a master's program but it was cheaper to do them at the undergraduate level as a 2nd bachelor's.

 

Communicative Disorders is a related field to my 1st degree in psychology so I don't actually regret my original major. I think I will be a better Speech & Language Pathologist for having taken those classes in how the brain works.

 

I am, however, encouraging my oldest DD, the aspiring linguist, to take classes that satisfy admissions requirements to SLP master's to keep her options open.


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#39 J-rap

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 10:38 AM

I did that and wound up going back to school for a 2nd bachelor's. My 1st alma mater didn't offer the major even if it had been of interest in my early 20's. I could have done the classes as a 3rd year on a master's program but it was cheaper to do them at the undergraduate level as a 2nd bachelor's.

 

Communicative Disorders is a related field to my 1st degree in psychology so I don't actually regret my original major. I think I will be a better Speech & Language Pathologist for having taken those classes in how the brain works.

 

I am, however, encouraging my oldest DD, the aspiring linguist, to take classes that satisfy admissions requirements to SLP master's to keep her options open.

 

From personal experience, I've come to believe that a knowledge of both communicative disorders and brain understanding can sometimes be crucial.  I think it's great that you'll have both!



#40 Haiku

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 02:06 PM

My thoughts: It is the child's education. It doesn't really matter how much you worked and sacrificed beforehand for a specific school or program. They are the ones who have to study the major, and they are the ones who have to work the job. I have told my kids that I expect that they major in something where they have a reasonable chance of finding a job in their field that will earn them enough to support themselves. Other than that, it's not up to me.

 

That said, I have also told my kids that they get an allotted and pre-determined amount of college money from us. Barring an unforeseen crisis, when the money is gone, it's gone. If they want to take five or six years to graduate, it's up to them to fund anything beyond what we have allotted.

 

I changed my major three times in college. It's not unusual. My dad tried to force me into a science major when I was not interested in one. I don't want to do that to my kids.


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#41 quark

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 03:03 PM

 

Whoa, quark! How did I read your mind? lol  :laugh: I feel like you guys are my extended friends circle and know me pretty well even if we are all online. It's uncanny!
 
That would be a huge switch knowing a bit of your son's journey and the decisions which led him to select Cal in the first place. But he's a super bright and passionate young man. So, it will sure be interesting to see where he goes from here. Would there be anything wrong with a double major in his case? That would be my strong preference. Math plus anything else. But I also know the UCs are pretty strict with the number of years they allow one to attend to graduate. Is your son more of an all or nothing sort of guy?

 

 

I used to think kiddo will double or even triple major seeing the wide range of interests and the loads of time to do so. But kiddo seems very set right now on not doing it. All or nothing might be one way to put it. In the kid's words, "Mom, I"m 15. I really don't need to rush into decisions like double majoring right now." and a puppy dog look when I start explaining why I even suggest it and replying with, "but I really want to do more math". Maybe a mix of knowing very clearly what he wants to do + falling in love with finally having access to the cool math + not wanting to load self up right now with 20 units when 13-17 feels better and offers more time to think through hard math + still be a kid. It's a conversation that we've put aside to focus on more day-to-day things. There's still so much time left. If it has to happen I think it will.

 

The one thing that has not changed at all since young is that kiddo is very "pure/theoretical" with little interest in applications of whatever it is that captures interest.
 


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#42 JanetC

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 04:18 PM

Let's say you worked, toiled, spent considerable time and money to get your DC into a school which has an excellent program for their area of study. Then, after a few semesters they discover that its not really what they want to do at all? In fact, they pick something completely different! For example, they go in as a math major and then decide to switch into theater arts instead? This may even entail switching colleges for that other new major. Would you potentially be upset?

A parent who has worked and toiled to get a kid into a particular school is doing it wrong. Most of the hard work to get into college should rightfully be done by the student, not the parent. What we do as homeschoolers is hard of course, but it should be mostly work that applies generally to a good high school education rather than to "what school XYZ likes to see." I did work hard on the counselor portions of my DDs' college applications, but I still had fewer essays and less overall work than they did on their own sections of the applications. A parent who reacts to their child changing majors with "MY hard work was wasted!" Is not centering the right person's needs in the discussion.

If the child wants to change majors after trying it: That's normal. If the student wants to switch colleges to switch majors: I'd tread carefully there. It's one thing to take a great class and realize you want to study that subject further, it's different when you are switching schools and majors at the same time. They may take the first class in whatever exotic major and discover that it wasn't what they thought. Or, maybe they arrive on campus and discover that the campus vibe is not a good fit. A higher risk change should be done in a very thoughtful manner.

Ok, let's open the question up a bit further to include less extreme changes. Maybe the change simply means significantly more time than expected in UG. What if the change would not be something 'you' necessarily would have recommended? Let's say its an area with far more graduates than there are jobs, etc...? And they don't want to go into teaching that subject (literature, music, history, philosophy, etc...). They simply just like studying that area more.

So, I would have to evaluate the need for extra years of study along the lines of:
1. Will we be able to afford the new plan
2. Is the new plan realistic - overall academic track record, took some courses in the subject as part of general education and did well, and so on. If the student is just discovering that upper level classes in their major are harder than the intro ones, switching back to intro classes is easy, but doesn't lead anywhere.

I do check in with my DD about staying on track to graduate in the first four years of college (she is open about her grades and what classes she's taking), so I shouldn't suddenly realize at the end of four years that she's nowhere close to graduation. If something were to happen, my approach would be more "how do we solve this problem?" rather than, "you screwed up and I'm cutting you off."

I have two kids who are going major in things that will not bring in the big bucks. My art major is thinking of minoring in French or maybe theatre. My high school senior is obsessed with the geology of Mars -- not a lot of job demand for that expertise either. We are currently financially secure enough that we don't have to insist that they are financially independent the day after graduation. We can help launch them a bit. Parents don't even have to be super-wealthy to help a kid launch: DH's parents helped with some old furniture, pots/pans/etc. when he started out.
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#43 creekland

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 04:31 PM

A parent who has worked and toiled to get a kid into a particular school is doing it wrong. Most of the hard work to get into college should rightfully be done by the student, not the parent. What we do as homeschoolers is hard of course, but it should be mostly work that applies generally to a good high school education rather than to "what school XYZ likes to see." I did work hard on the counselor portions of my DDs' college applications, but I still had fewer essays and less overall work than they did on their own sections of the applications. A parent who reacts to their child changing majors with "MY hard work was wasted!" Is not centering the right person's needs in the discussion.

 

For me the hard work wasn't getting them in, it was finding good schools for what they wanted that were also likely to be affordable for us.

 

Sure, one could say the student should put in the work to do this, but I felt I had more knowledge in the field to do it more effectively.  Many ps students go to their guidance counselor for suggestions to look into.  I was the primary guidance counselor when it came to my boys and finding colleges (even my ps lad).

 

After I had compiled a list of options (which they could add to if they heard of any schools worthy of checking out), then they got to look at more specifics plus getting a final list of where they actually wanted to apply.  Once they had acceptances, they could choose from affordable options.

 

I doubt any of my three would have been at the college they chose to attend if I hadn't done the legwork finding the school for them to consider.

 

No regrets on my part for my hours put in.  No regrets from them either.  Their schools are simply not well known in our area, but turned out to be affordable great fits for each of them.


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#44 JanetC

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 05:04 PM

For me the hard work wasn't getting them in, it was finding good schools for what they wanted that were also likely to be affordable for us.


The work of building a college list was a little more evenly distributed at our house though I was definitely more in charge of the financial aspect. I think parent effort to do a thorough college search is different from an effort to mold your child into what Harvard wants to see, which is more of what I was trying to argue against.

If a child's college choice hadn't worked out, would your reaction have been "after all the work I did to get you into there, suck it up buttercup!" Or, would it have been along the lines of, "Let's pull out the list of other schools we considered to see if we can find a school where you won't have the same problem." ?

Obviously I think we'd agree the first is unhealthy.
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#45 dereksurfs

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 05:28 PM

My thoughts: It is the child's education. It doesn't really matter how much you worked and sacrificed beforehand for a specific school or program. They are the ones who have to study the major, and they are the ones who have to work the job. I have told my kids that I expect that they major in something where they have a reasonable chance of finding a job in their field that will earn them enough to support themselves. Other than that, it's not up to me.

 

That said, I have also told my kids that they get an allotted and pre-determined amount of college money from us. Barring an unforeseen crisis, when the money is gone, it's gone. If they want to take five or six years to graduate, it's up to them to fund anything beyond what we have allotted.

 

I changed my major three times in college. It's not unusual. My dad tried to force me into a science major when I was not interested in one. I don't want to do that to my kids.

 

I think that is really going to be the challenge for me as a parent. In my case, my father was very overbearing in wanting me to follow in his footsteps as an engineer. Since I had no interest in that at the time, I think I picked widely different majors almost in protest of that pressure. The funny thing is, many years later after he had passed away, I did wind up working as a software engineer. 

 

I know I don't want to repeat that same pattern with our kids. Yet at the same time I want to provide good guidance and career advice. I think all parents have certain parameters in mind when advising their children which probably does varies based upon their own life experiences. Ultimately, as young adults the decision should be up to them since they will have to work in those areas (or not).  ;) Sometimes they'll also have to learn life lessons via experience as many of us did.


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#46 lewelma

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 11:32 PM

I would be absolutely fine with a change in major.  We have taught our boys that to be happy in your work, you should pick a field:

 

1) Where you excel

2) That you like

3) That has jobs available

4) That is reasonably well paid

 

Remove any one of these, and you are going to be frustrated. My sister is a Biology teacher in a private school, she had 1,2, and 3 but not 4 and she is very frustrated with it.  My BIL is a GP and has 1, 3, 4 but doesn't really like his job, and he is miserable. One of my students loved biochemistry, but had  profoundly dyscalculia.  She had 2, 3 and 4, but without #1 she was not going very far. Just try all the combinations.

 

So, if ds changes majors, I'm going to ask him about the 4 points, and how he has evaluated them.  Sure you can be my sister or BIL, and make a happy life, but they do get *very* frustrated with their jobs. You just need to go in with your eyes open. If you do that, then it was a choice; if you don't, then you were ignorant of the consequences.

 

Ruth in NZ


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#47 luuknam

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 11:50 PM

According to the report, students who made a final decision as late as the fifth term they were enrolled did not see their time to graduation increase. Even one-quarter of the students who landed on a final major during senior year graduated in four years, the EAB found.

 

 

Realistically, there is some self-selection going on there, in that a number of people will not switch to anything that would require them to take more time. For instance, I'm thinking maybe chemical engineering would be interesting... but I'm not going to do that, because that would add too much time (and MONEY). Not that I'm going to graduate on time... just saying I've met people who'd only change their major if it didn't add extra time, including some that were pretty unhappy about it. 


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#48 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:01 AM

My dh’s siblings who are in their 50’s and 60’s are still bitter about their parents who micromanaged their career choices. They have been successful but I am not sure that is all that it’s about.


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#49 jdahlquist

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:25 AM

DS is just finishing up his first semester and has already changed his major from business to philosophy.  I am not upset--in fact I am glad, because if he had asked me in the beginning I would have steered him away from business.

 

If a child was a long way into a degree program and a change would mean a significant increase in the time to graduation, I would counsel the child to consider finishing the original degree and then pursuing a graduate degree in the second area of interest. 


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#50 KarenNC

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 06:51 AM

I switched several times and actually ended up never working in the field of my ultimate major. That's why I have steered my daughter away from schools that are very specific (like a school of the arts) and toward those that offer a broader range of options (a liberal arts school or state university).


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