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Janeway

My son has no clue what he wants to major in

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This is very frustrating. My son has no clue what he wants to major in. This is great and fine if he were going to a liberal arts school. But he might not be. He got his acceptance to UTD. It looks to be affordable. But now he says he does not like the major he put down when he applied. Okay. Not sure how to help him. Also, it appears there are scholarships based on major so it would be nice to be a little accurate in the major.

 

edited to add: I do think he is going in the liberal arts direction, but I think economics or something in business would be possible. Economics is a different college as is business. My husband is trying to convince him to try out computer programming.

Edited by Janeway
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My dd is having the same problem.  She is planning on attending UTD with a NMF scholarship and put down a major but nothing really appeals to her.  She just settled for the one she chose because it was the best fit even though it's not something that excites her.  

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Well, this is super common. And kids get to college and change all the time.  And then you might lose a designated scholarship too.  Sometimes they need to try some coursework to sort it out.  I guess I wouldn't sweat it too hard if he is the middle of application season and he's busy with that.  

Is this the one who was considering majoring in classics?  Would you consider him a liberal arts type?  If that is the case I wouldn't panic.  If he was rethinking applying to engineering programs or something that might require a shift in applications and strategy.  I know people who applied to one college at our flagship and shifted to another before freshman year started with a change of heart, so if you have questions along that line, definitely call the admissions office directly. 

My kid is a freshman now and is still waffling a bit.  

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I feel your pain! But yes, very normal. (I changed majors several times myself.) Both of my kids changed--well, my oldest never declared but thought about several possibilities and pursued coursework in each, only to decide they weren't a right fit. He graduated with an Associate's Degree (took 3 years with all of the class experimenting) without ever deciding and took a gap year before he really knew what he wanted to do. DD changed from pre-nursing to early childhood ed--and yes, that change did impact how long it will take for her to graduate too. But kids really need the freedom to explore, figure out who they are, and decide. I remember feeling all panicky about my oldest not deciding for so long, so I do commiserate with you! But it's not something we can force or speed up or really change for them. Just keep praying for him and supporting him, and lay out any potential pros and cons to changing. My kids started at the CC which is fairly friendly on the pocket-book for changing majors. See if there are scholarships for undecideds and have him change to that until he decides. I think I've read that more than half of all Freshmen change majors, so it won't be a big shock to the school. Hang in there!

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I know mine still hadn't decided on a major until she started submitting applications. I'm not sure if she'll stick with her current plan or switch a couple times. I think it is frustrating as a parent but more on the scary side for the kids themselves, so I try not to pressure them.

I do think that when it is time for a decision on where to go that the kids weigh in their decision the possibility of changing majors & how that might work at each place.

I definitely understand your frustration but the situation is tough on them, too.

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Very common and nothing to worry about. Lots of students who enter college and thought they knew what they wanted to major in change their major. I am an advisor and see this all the time.

Does he know which direction he wants to go? Like, engineering vs humanities? Once he can limit the main field, there is a lot of overlap between related majors, and he can just dip his toes in and get started.

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My son has no idea again. Problem is that he's transferring as a junior so he doesn't have the time to explore. I think he knows what he wants but worries to much about roi. 

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I agree it is very common, but with the cost of college now, it’s something I wish I had begun exploring more directly with my dd earlier on. I went more with the idea that it is a common issue and it’s one I had myself and I figured it out, so she will too. Then the reality of the costs set in and we started investing some time in career exploration.

Some things we’ve done over the last year that have led to her narrowing down her interests to a couple of fields:

Volunteer work in the medical field

Meyers Briggs Test

Interviewing people who have careers she is interested in - nurse practitioner, SLP, CPA, Latin teacher

Birkman Careertyping test https://birkman.com/the-birkman-method/careertyping/ - This is about $100 But was well worth it IMO. The results seemed right on for my dd’s interests and personality.

I am considering having her do the Johnson O’Connor aptitude testing. Yes, it is $1,000, which is a lot of money for us but when I think one year at college - $25,000 vs aptitude testing - $1,000, it seems like a no-brainer. My dd has narrowed her interests down to the point where it may not be necessary, depending on the college she chooses, though.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mom0012
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OP, if there is a chance your ds may want to be a business major, you might at least encourage him to start with meeting the prerequisites for the business school while exploring other options. My ds was torn between between history and accounting. We told him it was his life, his choice and that we would fully support him in whatever direction he went, but that if he didn’t want to teach, he needed to get over to the career center and figure out what he could do with a history degree. I don’t want to be a dream crusher, but not having a marketable degree could be just as much of a dream crusher further down the road, IMO.

This year, he decided to go with accounting. But, had he not been willing to start working on some of the required classes for the business school last year, I don’t see that he would be able to graduate in 4 years. There are about 25 required classes for an accounting degree but only 11 required for history. I had no idea there could be such a big difference! 

If my ds changes his mind, he can easily still get a history degree.

Edited by Mom0012

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Also, I don’t think you can rush kids through this process and that they do need time to explore and mature. However, I do think interest and aptitude testing can go a long way in helping them narrow down the fields they may want to focus on. 

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48 minutes ago, Mom0012 said:

OP, if there is a chance your ds may want to be a business major, you might at least encourage him to start with meeting the prerequisites for the business school while exploring other options. My ds was torn between between history and accounting. We told him it was his life, his choice and that we would fully support him in whatever direction he went, but that if he didn’t want to teach, he needed to get over to the career center and figure out what he could do with a history degree. I don’t want to be a dream crusher, but not having a marketable degree could be just as much of a dream crusher further down the road, IMO.

This year, he decided to go with accounting. But, had he not been willing to start working on some of the required classes for the business school last year, I don’t see that he would be able to graduate in 4 years. There are about 25 required classes for an accounting degree but only 11 required for history. I had no idea there could be such a big difference! 

If my ds changes his mind, he can easily still get a history degree.

I'll agree with thinking about the most challenging thing they'd even possibly, maybe think of doing and at least start doing prereqs for that right away.  If they dump it, no harm no foul, and also they can say for certain it wasn't for them.  Process of elimination, at least.  But if they decide later they want to do it and didn't start on the prereqs, then maybe 1-2 years more school to make that up.  Ouch.

For example, my nephew has no idea at all what he wants to do.  I asked, well super-broadly, do you think you'd see yourself in any kind of STEM field, or any kind of Business, or any kind of Social Science, or any kind of Humanties.  He had a fairly visceral "no" 'to the idea of #1 and #4, so I told him to aim generally for prereqs for the other two.  But his Advisor had told him he only needed to do a Programming class instead of any Math, as he's in the General population, and that's checks the box for Humanities, which has the lowest bar.  I told him if he's even possibly considering something like Business or Econ, he should take Calc for Business while he still remembers math from high school.  Especially if he really hates the idea of Humanities - he's going to have to take  more math for anything else, and if he somehow does decide STEM, at least he's had some math in the meantime, and if he somehow decides Humanities after all, it's still not a bad thing to have taken.  And taking the prereqs can help decide if it's something you want to go into, or not.

My other nephew (who also went in undecided) spent a whole year taking complete General classes - Intro to Drama and Intro to Humanities, and no math of any kind.  He ended up declaring for Environmental Science, which he is loving - except he will not finish on time, he did not get the classes in to do the really cool semester abroad doing field work, and he still hasn't taken the required Math class for his major.  He only had up to PreCalc in high school, and there will now be at least a 3-year gap before he attempts Calc.  I think that if there was even a hint he'd be heading into any kind of a Science field (and EnvSci was his AP subject, and his favorite extracurricular club in high school, so it's not like there was no hint), the Advisor should have told him to get the Math out of the way.  But they don't care if you finish on time.  More money for them.

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17 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

But they don't care if you finish on time.  More money for them.

Well, schools are starting to care if you finish in 6 years because of the 6-yr graduation rate statistic. And Advisors generally don't get a bonus if their advisees take longer to finish, YKWIM? 

But there are so many kids to advise that they don't spend much time getting to know them. Depending on the school, Advisors may be completely clueless about a lot of things, wear multiple hats, or only knowledgeable about the classes in their department (which might not help undecideds at all).

Some (home school & otherwise) parents go completely hands off in terms of advising when their kids get to college. So far, I'm taking the "ask the kid lots of questions" tactic to class planning. As you obviously know, they don't always know what they should be thinking about & considering. 

DD went in with a really pie-in-the-sky 10 semester plan that covered all the bases she was considering at that point & is now crossing things off & re-arranging based on what she's figuring out. The Advisor she saw at orientation gave her about 60 seconds of attention because she already had a plan. But the kids with declared majors who hadn't even started looking at classes didn't get even 5 minutes because there were so many who needed attention. I'm still her mom & I agree the schools don't have the same drive & motivation to make the kid's college stay efficient.

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10 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

Well, schools are starting to care if you finish in 6 years because of the 6-yr graduation rate statistic. And Advisors generally don't get a bonus if their advisees take longer to finish, YKWIM? 

LOL, at $25-60K a year for schools these days, I don't consider an extra 2 years past the normal 4 to be "on time".  I'm sure dn will finish in six years.  But not four.  The very fact that none of these places are even advertising their four-year graduation rate is telling.  That's exactly their thing.  Oh, as long as you finish in 6 years, that's fine.  Totally normal.  No rush.  Take your time exploring your options.  Yeah, fine if you're not paying for it.

Quote

But there are so many kids to advise that they don't spend much time getting to know them. Depending on the school, Advisors may be completely clueless about a lot of things, wear multiple hats, or only knowledgeable about the classes in their department (which might not help undecideds at all).

Some (home school & otherwise) parents go completely hands off in terms of advising when their kids get to college. So far, I'm taking the "ask the kid lots of questions" tactic to class planning. As you obviously know, they don't always know what they should be thinking about & considering. 

DD went in with a really pie-in-the-sky 10 semester plan that covered all the bases she was considering at that point & is now crossing things off & re-arranging based on what she's figuring out. The Advisor she saw at orientation gave her about 60 seconds of attention because she already had a plan. But the kids with declared majors who hadn't even started looking at classes didn't get even 5 minutes because there were so many who needed attention. I'm still her mom & I agree the schools don't have the same drive & motivation to make the kid's college stay efficient.

Yes, all of this.  I am not at all a fan of telling kids what to do - but I do think asking them questions that help them at least narrow down their options is time very well spent.  I'm a hands-on Advisor with my kids, especially the first year or so as they're settling in.  By asking them questions and showing them how to figure out different course progressions based on their potential interests, they have quickly become adept at figuring out on their own how to navigate this.

Edited by Matryoshka
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5 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

Yes, all of this.  I am not at all a fan of telling kids what to do - but I do think asking them questions that help them at least narrow down their options is time very well spent.  I'm a hands-on Advisor with my kids, especially the first year or so as they're settling in.  By asking them questions and showing them how to figure out different course progressions based on their potential interests, they have quickly become adept at figuring out on their own how to navigate this.

Yes, I think there are many, many kids that need help with the planning and are getting very little guidance from an advisor. I’ve spoken with a few young adults locally who are frustrated with the poor advice they’ve been given at the cc. 

I figured out the whole 4-year plan for my ds during his freshman year so that he would meet his gen ed requirements (of which there were many!) and the business prerequisites AND get in all the classes for his leadership minor which his scholarship is tied to. This involved planning for a couple of summer classes last summer in order to keep his workload manageable. There is no way ds would have done this during his freshman year and there is very little wiggle room for error if he is to graduate in 4 years.

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Mom0012 said:

Yes, I think there are many, many kids that need help with the planning and are getting very little guidance from an advisor. I’ve spoken with a few young adults locally who are frustrated with the poor advice they’ve been given at the cc. 

I figured out the whole 4-year plan for my ds during his freshman year so that he would meet his gen ed requirements (of which there were many!) and the business prerequisites AND get in all the classes for his leadership minor which his scholarship is tied to. This involved planning for a couple of summer classes last summer in order to keep his workload manageable. There is no way ds would have done this during his freshman year and there is very little wiggle room for error if he is to graduate in 4 years.

Yes, exactly this.  I did the same thing for my kids - I helped them map out what they had to do when based on what they said they might want to do.  They have indeed changed things up, but because there was a plan, and a plan B, and they knew how to plan after seeing what I did to put it together, they're in good shape.

Some majors have a lot of wiggle; others have almost none.  Easier to go from the latter to the former than the other way 'round...  And if they want to do an internship/coop or study abroad or other interesting thing - what needs to be done when to have that be possible and still get done in time  - unless you or they have lots of money and no worries about finishing in 4 years (rather than 6 - how/when did that become the benchmark??!!)  Most Advisors these days spend no time getting to know the kids; they just give them a standard template based on minimum requirements for the least demanding majors.  Which only works if that's what the kid ends up wanting to do.  Seems like it used to be Advisors were profs in the department who knew the requirements, but it seems like nowadays they're young, virtually untrained grad students who may well have no experience in the major they're advising in, and can steer you very wrong.

Edited by Matryoshka
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I have read some, but not all, of the replies. My DD applied "Undeclared" or "Undecided".  Some people, like my Cousin, an eminent M.D. in his specialty, or, a childhood friend, are lucky and they know, exactly what they want to do, when they are very young. Recently, that childhood friend wrote me that he knew, when we were 12 or 13 years old, that he wanted to be an Electrical Engineer. My Cousin wrote to me that he always wanted to be an M.D.  There was never ever  doubt in his mind, what his goal was.

IMO a large percentage of teenagers have no clue as to what they would like to do for the next 45 years. That's a big decision and many of them are like my DD and have many different interests and skills and could go in a number of different directions. 

As others have mentioned in this thread, it is not uncommon for a student to declare a Major, and then to change that Major. Sometimes more than once.

OP good luck to your DS!

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11 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

Yes, exactly this.  I did the same thing for my kids - I helped them map out what they had to do when based on what they said they might want to do.  They have indeed changed things up, but because there was a plan, and a plan B, and they knew how to plan after seeing what I did to put it together, they're in good shape.

Some majors have a lot of wiggle; others have almost none.  Easier to go from the latter to the former than the other way 'round...  And if they want to do an internship/coop or study abroad or other interesting thing - what needs to be done when to have that be possible and still get done in time  - unless you or they have lots of money and no worries about finishing in 4 years (rather than 6 - how/when did that become the benchmark??!!)  Most Advisors these days spend no time getting to know the kids; they just give them a standard template based on minimum requirements for the least demanding majors.  Which only works if that's what the kid ends up wanting to do.  Seems like it used to be Advisors were profs in the department who knew the requirements, but it seems like nowadays they're young, virtually untrained grad students who may well have no experience in the major they're advising in, and can steer you very wrong.

The internship is a another big thing that has to be worked in. My ds needs to do an internship the summer before he takes a certain class which is tied to his scholarship. There is no way I would have understood all the planning required at this age. Things were much easier to navigate when I was in college.

I guess I’m a bit of a weird one in that I love figuring this stuff out. My ds was worried about his last accounting exam and thought he had done poorly, so he wanted me to go over the history degree requirements while he’s home on break. I went through and planned out scenarios for just a history degree, history with a public policy concentration and history on the path to teaching, lol. Then he found out he got an A on his test and decided maybe accounting is for him after all.🙂

I’ve tried to get the dd of the guy that cuts my hair to meet with me so I could help her figure out her classes since she was telling me what crappy counseling they have at the cc. I figured out all the classes my niece needed to take at the cc and researched degree options for her. When my dd goes to college next year, I’d love to work as a guidance counselor at the cc, but I don’t know what kind of credentials I’d need to do that.

 

 

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Well I also know a fair share of people who “knew” at 12-17 that changed too.   So I guess I’ve also thought the best idea is to keep options open as long as possible and don’t be more invested than my kid in any one particular path.  A huge number of engineering and comp sci kids change path.   Something like 80% do change major at least once according to some sources.  You can do all the career planning stuff and still end up with a kid who changes their mind.  
 

Lib arts majors are usually much more forgiving than engineering, business, other pre-professional paths.   So I think if you are considering those paths better to start on that path first.  We also tried to make a financial pick that wasn’t going to make or break us at the 4 year point.   And has summer options too to get gen Ed’s out of the way.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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On 10/12/2019 at 5:35 AM, Lanny said:

I have read some, but not all, of the replies. My DD applied "Undeclared" or "Undecided".  Some people, like my Cousin, an eminent M.D. in his specialty, or, a childhood friend, are lucky and they know, exactly what they want to do, when they are very young. Recently, that childhood friend wrote me that he knew, when we were 12 or 13 years old, that he wanted to be an Electrical Engineer. My Cousin wrote to me that he always wanted to be an M.D.  There was never ever  doubt in his mind, what his goal was.

IMO a large percentage of teenagers have no clue as to what they would like to do for the next 45 years. That's a big decision and many of them are like my DD and have many different interests and skills and could go in a number of different directions. 

As others have mentioned in this thread, it is not uncommon for a student to declare a Major, and then to change that Major. Sometimes more than once.

OP good luck to your DS!

 

This.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 17/18 year old kid not having a clue what he wants to major in. That's perfectly normal.

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On 10/11/2019 at 10:20 PM, Matryoshka said:

Yes, exactly this.  I did the same thing for my kids - I helped them map out what they had to do when based on what they said they might want to do.  They have indeed changed things up, but because there was a plan, and a plan B, and they knew how to plan after seeing what I did to put it together, they're in good shape.

Some majors have a lot of wiggle; others have almost none.  Easier to go from the latter to the former than the other way 'round...  And if they want to do an internship/coop or study abroad or other interesting thing - what needs to be done when to have that be possible and still get done in time  - unless you or they have lots of money and no worries about finishing in 4 years (rather than 6 - how/when did that become the benchmark??!!)  Most Advisors these days spend no time getting to know the kids; they just give them a standard template based on minimum requirements for the least demanding majors.  Which only works if that's what the kid ends up wanting to do.  Seems like it used to be Advisors were profs in the department who knew the requirements, but it seems like nowadays they're young, virtually untrained grad students who may well have no experience in the major they're advising in, and can steer you very wrong.

 

The summer before DS's orientation (when freshmen register for classes), I posted on the university's FB parent group asking where the fall course schedule was, because I couldn't find it online. Every. single. response. was not to bother because "the advisor will tell him what to take." When I said that DS wanted to at least go into the meeting with a list of options, multiple parents said there was really no point in that because the advisor would just change it all anyway since "they know what the requirements are and students don't."  Huh? All the requirements for every major, minor, and GE category are clearly listed on the university website; why would students not even bother to familiarize themselves with those requirements before enrolling??? And then 2 months later the same FB group was filled with posts from unhappy parents whose kids were placed in the wrong courses or the wrong level, were not enrolled in prereq courses they needed to take the next course in the sequence, were advised to take 18 credit hours of heavy STEM courses in their first semester and were totally floundering, etc. 

Meanwhile, DS and I had put together a chart of all the requirements for his major & minor, with his preferred courses for fulfilling each of them (plus a Plan B/C/D), and a list of all required GEs with notes as to which ones could also count for the major, minor, or for more than one GE. So he went to orientation with a clear written plan for his degree, plus several sample schedules for fall semester, and he was in and out of his advising appointment in 5 minutes with exactly the schedule he wanted. 

I sympathize with students who get bad advice from inexperienced or incompetent advisors, but I'm totally flummoxed why they (and their parents, who quite literally pay for mistakes made due to poor advising) do not make even the most minimal effort to figure this stuff out for themselves??? 

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On 10/10/2019 at 12:54 PM, Janeway said:

This is very frustrating. My son has no clue what he wants to major in. This is great and fine if he were going to a liberal arts school. But he might not be. He got his acceptance to UTD. It looks to be affordable. But now he says he does not like the major he put down when he applied. Okay. Not sure how to help him. Also, it appears there are scholarships based on major so it would be nice to be a little accurate in the major...


Then it sounds like UTD might not be a good fit financially (or logistically) if he has to declare a major upon acceptance and the financial aid is tied to that major.

I'd suggest looking elsewhere,  at the other schools he applied to, and see if some of those schools allow him to come in with an undeclared major. He can also look closer at what majors are offered at the other schools he applied to. Or, if that is the only school he applied to, it's still early enough to apply at other schools.

Perhaps take a gap year to volunteer, work, and get some life experience, which may better help him decide what he wants to do college-wise and career wise a year from now.

Perhaps start at the local community college and take gen. ed. classes that will transfer to a university, and take about what he is interested in doing. Or go for a shorter (2-year) AAS degree at the community college that will be a cheaper option and a "direct to work" degree at a higher pay level. Then he could work awhile and see if that's the field he is interested in.
 

On 10/10/2019 at 12:54 PM, Janeway said:

...I think economics or something in business would be possible. Economics is a different college as is business. My husband is trying to convince him to try out computer programming.


re: parents suggesting majors or trying to convince children towards a specific job field
From my personal experience, and what things I see parents around me suggest to their student, this almost never helps a student. It just makes them feel more pressure, not only because they don't know exactly what they want to do, but now they also have to deal with "mom and dad want me to do this". Ug. Parents mean well, but they tend to suggest majors/career fields based on pay, advancement options, and benefits -- not so much on student's actual interests, strengths, and abilities.

Instead I'd recommend paying for some in-depth career testing with a skilled career counselor.

Or try online testing -- several people on these boards have said their children had very accurate and helpful results with YouScience. There were more suggestions for free online career tests in this past thread: "What occupation is right for you tests?"

Edited by Lori D.

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On 10/10/2019 at 12:54 PM, Janeway said:

This is very frustrating. My son has no clue what he wants to major in. This is great and fine if he were going to a liberal arts school. But he might not be. He got his acceptance to UTD. It looks to be affordable. But now he says he does not like the major he put down when he applied. Okay. Not sure how to help him. Also, it appears there are scholarships based on major so it would be nice to be a little accurate in the major.

 

edited to add: I do think he is going in the liberal arts direction, but I think economics or something in business would be possible. Economics is a different college as is business. My husband is trying to convince him to try out computer programming.

There can be lots of computer programming in economics jobs, so if he goes the economics route, it would still be a good idea to take some programming classes. Is it difficult to switch colleges later? Are students accepted directly into the business program? Is his personality a good fit for a business major? Does his high school offer career counseling and testing? He still has time before he starts college to do job shadowing and discuss careers with different professionals.

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On 10/13/2019 at 2:27 PM, Corraleno said:

 

The summer before DS's orientation (when freshmen register for classes), I posted on the university's FB parent group asking where the fall course schedule was, because I couldn't find it online. Every. single. response. was not to bother because "the advisor will tell him what to take." When I said that DS wanted to at least go into the meeting with a list of options, multiple parents said there was really no point in that because the advisor would just change it all anyway since "they know what the requirements are and students don't."  Huh? All the requirements for every major, minor, and GE category are clearly listed on the university website; why would students not even bother to familiarize themselves with those requirements before enrolling??? And then 2 months later the same FB group was filled with posts from unhappy parents whose kids were placed in the wrong courses or the wrong level, were not enrolled in prereq courses they needed to take the next course in the sequence, were advised to take 18 credit hours of heavy STEM courses in their first semester and were totally floundering, etc. 

Meanwhile, DS and I had put together a chart of all the requirements for his major & minor, with his preferred courses for fulfilling each of them (plus a Plan B/C/D), and a list of all required GEs with notes as to which ones could also count for the major, minor, or for more than one GE. So he went to orientation with a clear written plan for his degree, plus several sample schedules for fall semester, and he was in and out of his advising appointment in 5 minutes with exactly the schedule he wanted. 

I sympathize with students who get bad advice from inexperienced or incompetent advisors, but I'm totally flummoxed why they (and their parents, who quite literally pay for mistakes made due to poor advising) do not make even the most minimal effort to figure this stuff out for themselves??? 

:wub: I miss the I agree button...The above is what I did with my son and my own undergrad education (started when ds was in high school, now in grad school). I scoured the catalog and major requirements, so I knew exactly what I needed/wanted when I walked in my advisor's office. I also had a list of questions ready to ask. I happened to find a great advisor who turned into my mentor who helped prepare me for grad school - even offering independent study courses to help me prepare. He didn't have to waste his time helping pick classes, I could do that, I needed real guidance. 

My son has done similarly. He know has one good advisor, a mentor, and professors that he can just go in and chat with. 

Also, a history degree can be very marketable. While it can be an easier sequence of classes - and I agree that planning from the hardest to fulfill choice makes sense-  most upper level courses are writing intensive - at least in good programs. Students learn how to research and how to communicate that analysis in a clear and concise manner. Anecdotes, but that same institution has a new president and dean of the arts & science college, both were history majors, at least in undergrad.  

 

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I would have him apply to U of Houston if he's certain he wants to study liberal arts. Here are a list of graduate departmental rankings for history, poli sci, econ and English. You'll notice that U of H is more geared to the liberal arts than UTD. It has very similar merit awards based on GPA/SAT or ACT so it may be affordable for you although he'll need to pay for room and board.

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/history-rankings?location=tx

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/economics-rankings?location=Texas

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/english-rankings?location=Texas

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/political-science-rankings?location=tx

You'll also notice that TAMU ranks much higher than UTD or U of H and that UT Austin generally ranks in the Top 20 so if you can swing them financially, it may be a good idea for him to apply to those schools. U of H also has a strong honors program geared to humanities with several honors minors.

Another possibility is starting at the Honors College at your local CC and then transferring to UT Austin. My dd has been admitted to the Honors College at Lone Star and the difference that makes in the CC experience is really remarkable. The honors classes are smaller and more academically focused and there are lots of extra activities organized by the Honors College that make CC a much richer experience. I'm guessing from the fact that there is a Gulf Coast Consortium of Honors Colleges and regional conferences that Lone Star's program is more the norm for TX CCs than the exception, but you'll have to do your due diligence with your local CC.

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On 10/11/2019 at 2:38 PM, Matryoshka said:

 For example, my nephew has no idea at all what he wants to do.  I asked, well super-broadly, do you think you'd see yourself in any kind of STEM field, or any kind of Business, or any kind of Social Science, or any kind of Humanties.  He had a fairly visceral "no" 'to the idea of #1 and #4, so I told him to aim generally for prereqs for the other two.  

I agree with this, with the caveat that they actually need to have some understanding of what those fields are. If a young adult equates a business major with management, they might have a negative reaction if they don't realize they are many other options. Likewise, they might have a positive reaction to social work if they don't see the hard salary numbers (ime, most people who say they're fine not making a lot of money don't have actual numbers in mind). 

On 10/11/2019 at 1:28 PM, Mom0012 said:

  There are about 25 required classes for an accounting degree but only 11 required for history. I had no idea there could be such a big difference! 

And you have to check for every single major at every single school, because it's not always what you would think. At one school dd looked at, the art major only had four true electives! And it's a BA, not a BFA. 

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He's still young. Give him some time to explore his options and take a few classes. Many people change their direction from when they start college to when they finish and tons of people have a career in something other than what their degree is in. 

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