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Recommend undergraduate major for daughter?

bobrockbobrock 9 replies7 threads Junior Member
Hi

My daughter is a junior in HS. She is very socially & politically conscious, very vocal and strong with her (liberal) view points, with interests in public speaking, teaching & generally making the world a better place. She's quite good academically as well and has been taking a reasonable amount of weighted classes in Math & science as well as history & language.

My question though is: what would be a good major for her? I'm starting to look at public policy, but don't see many undergrad programs at that level. I also want to be conscious of career possibilities after that. How about other majors such as Business or communications? As parents we can either pay full tuition at in-state U plus chip in a bit for her graduate studies, or pay a good chunk of private school undergrad.

Thx
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Replies to: Recommend undergraduate major for daughter?

  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 39993 replies2198 threads Super Moderator
    I get nervous when I read statements from parents like, “I’m starting to look at...”’and “I also want to be conscious of...”
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1868 replies18 threads Senior Member
    UCLA started a BA in public policy a couple of years ago. It is a lot more practically oriented than their PoliSci major which is more widely known (and very popular at most colleges), because PubAff includes a wider range of courses and a full year capstone internship during senior year. PoliSci is often quite a short major so may be combined with other majors or minors eg PoliSci/Econ is a common combination.
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 623 replies1 threads Member
    Look at your instate flagship departments for business, polysci majors, the four year plans in the course catalogue. Look at career center services- see calendar and recruiters who attend job and grad school fairs for these majors.
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  • bobrockbobrock 9 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Hi, her choices right now are public policy/poli science, with some econ courses. Career choices - always been passionate about politics, sees herself as a state congressperson/senator in her happy place dreams :) But politics ain't a career, right?!
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 392 replies4 threads Member
    edited January 18
    For better or worse politics is a career choice in America. So is a lobbyist.

    I would think law school is a must eventually.

    It's grad school but this might give you/her ideas.

    https://www.gspia.pitt.edu/
    edited January 18
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  • juilletjuillet 12724 replies162 threads Super Moderator
    ^What happy1 & collegemom3717 said. All of the things you said about your daughter could've described me in high school, and I majored in psychology. I have a close friend for whom this was also true and she majored in communication disorders. Lots of very smart, savvy young people are socially and politically conscious, but that doesn't have to define their major choice; there are lots of ways that people's interest in social and political issues and desire to have social impact can manifest in different careers. (My friend is a speech-language pathologist, and I'm a social scientist in the tech sphere. My job involves lots of public speaking and teaching, which is not necessarily something one would expect coming into it.)

    My overarching (and gentle :wink: ) question here is...why are you "starting to look" at these things? These are things your daughter should be starting to look at or being conscious of. You can of course support her as she explores, but she may already have her own ideas (however amorphous) about majors and careers.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2084 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Since your state of residence in CA, I would recommend one of the UCs. Since she's not entirely sure what she wants, a large university would allow her to have a good selection of majors, and the possibilities of multiple combinations. Your in-state are all really good as well.
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 623 replies1 threads Member
    edited January 20
    The parent does need to understand how majors progress, whether hs prereqs are taken, and what sorts of support are available via the career center or department. That will help guide the student to look at variety of colleges in budget, to inquire further when visiting, or to target honors programs or scholarships related to majors of interest.
    edited January 20
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7247 replies71 threads Senior Member
    edited January 20
    The parent does need to understand how majors progress, whether hs prereqs are taken

    Need? not really. In HS the parent will want want to make sure that the curriculum meets any admissions requirements, both in general (eg, meeting science or FL expectations) and in particular (eg, Math II subject test for CalTech or Calc for some CS/Engineering programs). But HS pre-reqs for specific college majors (except some CS/Eng) are pretty rare. The parent won't need to know how the major progresses or about career center resources- that will be the student's job to know about.

    Being interested & supportive is one thing. Taking the lead in researching possible majors is another.
    edited January 20
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1708 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Parental Research depends on the student/parent personalities and relationship.

    Student may be overwhelmed with school/work/ECs etc. My D appreciated my research, she still made all the decisions, but I laid out affordable schools in her geographic preference range from home.

    And this potential major/career seems to be one that colleges might vary widely in their course concentrations. I think it makes sense for a parent to gain a better understanding of the scope of a major/possible careers.

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  • bobrockbobrock 9 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Thanks all.

    Re: the 'big data'/'data science' angle, she is good at math (doing well in calc-AB so far), though not passionate. But I personally agree it would be a good addition, in terms of a career as well as a generally useful skill.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80232 replies720 threads Senior Member
    But HS pre-reqs for specific college majors (except some CS/Eng) are pretty rare.

    Taking the well rounded high school base curriculum should cover the high school prerequisites for college courses that various college majors depend on.

    Here are the typical assumptions:

    * English composition: 4 years of high school English courses are the expectation for taking the college English composition courses for general education requirements, but colleges may start students at different levels of English composition courses based on placement testing.
    * Math: for majors that require calculus (e.g. any science or engineering, economics, business), having completed precalculus in high school is the minimum; students who complete precalculus in 11th grade or earlier should take calculus if available to them.
    * Foreign language: often a general education requirement; some majors with international focus may require a higher level than the general education level. Higher attainment in high school can allow for higher placement in the same language in college, but colleges do offer foreign language courses starting at the beginner level.
    * Science: college biology, chemistry, and physics may assume a high school level knowledge of the subject; the college course will be more difficult if the student has not had that science in high school.
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