Could use 'major' advice from parents

<p>I posted this general question in the business subforum but haven't gotten any responses. A lot of parents here are very knowledgeable and I'd appreciate some feedback. My apologies if this is somewhat long, I need to get some stuff off my chest.</p>

<p>My first semester of college gave me the chance to experience a lot of different things. Now, I wake up sure about one major. Then I'm sure about the other one by lunch. Then I change my mind again at night. I trust my intuition but it isn't guiding me straight right now.</p>

<p>Math/statistics -
Not the same major, but a lot of overlap so I'm not obligated to choose now. A lot of the stats classes sound like fun. I can take econ and business electives and maybe prepare for actuarial exams. Seems like there are lots of grad school opportunities.</p>

<p>Proofs in geometry were very fun, but I didn't have a good experience in MV Calc. I am good at math compared to most people but don't have the natural aptitude of the math majors I've met. I will never be Good Will Hunting. Highly abstract mathematical research doesn't interest me. Being a TA would be fun, though.</p>

<p>Accounting -
I thought my accounting class was a lot of fun. I like the structured problem solving. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other business classes / requirements for the accounting major and those look pretty boring.</p>

<p>Other factors:
I've done a lot of group studying and teaching other people is something I enjoy and would like to do in the future.
While I love my school I really don't like the area. I'd rather not stay here after graduating.
I can comfortably graduate in 3 total years with math/stats - if I want to - or 4 total years for my 150 CPA credits. Gotta love AP.
Accounting would require me to try to transfer to the business school, which is why I need to decide soon.
I'm not sure whether I'd like a 9-5 corporate job or not, but it seems to me that I can always quit and live in a cabin but going the other way would be a lot harder.
I consistently test as an ESTJ or ENTJ, if that matters.</p>

<p>Thanks for your help.</p>

<p>My recommendation for you: Major in math/statics (TBD) and minor in business or accounting. This is based on my totally uneducated opinions - I don't know what it takes to get a job as an accountant.</p>

<p>Meanwhile, practice bow-and-arrow making and shooting in case you decide to chuck it all and go live in a cabin. :D You're right - it would be ever-so-difficult to go from mountain man to accountant, but you'd only have to give up a paycheck to go from accountant to mountain man.</p>

<p>Noimagination, to the extent I've 'gotten to know you' on CC, I just don't see you as an acccountant or even business major. I think it's a fabulous major for some, have taught them for 20 years, but truly can't see it working for you. BTW, my impression was NTJ for you and that is before you wrote what you did :)</p>

<p>I know, probably rather pointless advice but had to say that.</p>

<p>Math major courses like real analysis and abstract algebra can get rather abstract and proof oriented at the junior level (which would be second year for you, since you appear to be a year ahead). However, you can choose applied topics for your elective math courses. You may also want to take a statistics course to see if you prefer statistics over math.</p>

<p>If you intend to do graduate school in economics, a strong math background is a good thing to have.</p>

<p>Let me attempt to give you some sound advice.</p>

<p>First of all have you been to your career placement center on campus and taken their career placment test? This test will give you an idea of the type of careers that would fit you best.</p>

<p>Then you need to ask yourself what you would like to be doing as a professional? Where do you want to live? Do you want to live near family or in a particular geographic area?</p>

<p>Another question that needs to be addressed is the marketability of your major and yourself? In today's economy it is not easy to just say that I want to live here and do this. You need to consider how easy it is going to be to get hired.</p>

<p>Accountants are very marketable but you have to love it. Teachers are also in demand, but with budget cuts it could be difficult to earn an above average income ( for some peiople this is OK again another ? that you need to answer). Another viable option is to get your accounting degree or finance then get your MBA. Having an MBA will open doors that a Bachelors will not. If you are good at math a degree in one of the engineering fields can be very rewarding. For example Environmental Engieering is sought by many young women with a passion for the environment.</p>

<p>There are many questions that only you can answer. So I suggest that you visit your schools career placement center. The staff there deal with cases such as yours everyday. And they can help point you in the right direction.</p>

<p>When I took the standardized test at my career placement center 31 years ago. My profie came out that I should concentrate on doing something with people. From a teacher to a preacher to a foreign diplomat. Another thing that kept coming up was that I should be in some type of sales. I interviewed with many companies and since I had a degree in Agri-Business I went to work with a large Grain company. I was first in Administration which I found to be very boring. So after my first year I started asking myself what do I want to do next. One morning I sat in on a sales meeting that was IT. I wanted to go into sales (remember what my profile at the placement center suggested) I told my VP that I wanted to transfer to a sales territory and the rest is history.</p>

<p>This was 30 years ago I make a very good income more than some of my college buddies that are attornies and engineers. I have raised my children and my wife was able to stay home as long as they needed her. When I was a freshman I asked my grandpa how does a person know what he wants to do in life? He told me that you never really know but that whatever you decide on needs to be something that you are passionate about. He told me to do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. I can tell you that I have enjoyed my professional life and do not consider my profession work.</p>

<p>So you never know what path life will take you. But one thing is for sure everything will work out. I dont want to get religious on you, but I truly believe that God has a plan for us all. </p>

<p>I know you will be just fine, because you are asking the right questions and are proactive.</p>

<p>Good Luck to you in the future.</p>

<p>Statisticians work in so many different areas. Every research endeavor requires people with understanding of statistics. It seems to me that, in accounting, the numbers you are working with virtually always represent dollars. In statistics, you could be applying your knowledge to almost anything. Of course, statisticians do specialize, but I think those are decisions they make during their PhD work. You could keep options open for a while.</p>

<p>Not to further complicate your life, but is there some reason why economics isn't on your list of potential majors?</p>

<p>In terms of intellectual style, it's somewhere between the very abstract world of math and the much more concrete world of accounting. And because it's a liberal arts major, it usually doesn't involve an overwhelming number of courses, which would give you plenty of time to take statistics and accounting electives.</p>

<p>Some students don't "declare" their major until their sophomore year sometime. If you don't HAVE to choose a major yet...don't. Agreed..talk to an advisor or career office person about options in fields where you enjoy the coursework. </p>

<p>I can tell you...good secondary school math teachers are in demand around here.</p>

<p>I echo what Marian said - do a stat major with an economics minor - sort of a quantitative economics (some schools offer that as a major). It is what I am encouraging my daughter to consider for her major.</p>

<p>Wow, thanks for all the feedback!</p>

<p>Summary:
Basically, I like both of these subjects. I can take courses I like in both of these majors. Accounting would require me to fulfill more requirements that don't interest me, but I'm more comfortable with the options I'd have at graduation. With math or stats, my future options are a little less clear. I'm not sure that I'd be successful in a graduate math program, and enjoying teaching a couple of friends isn't quite the same as teaching 30 high school students.</p>

<p>Re GeekMom63:
An accounting degree isn't necessarily required to become a CPA, but accounting recruitment seems to be targeted at accounting majors (surprise!) The only contradictory datapoint is placement reports for econ majors at UC-Berkeley, which show a fair number taking accounting positions. But I'd probably attribute that to the fact that UCB doesn't offer an accounting major.</p>

<p>Re starbright:
Any kind of feedback is helpful lol. Seriously, I think I see where you're coming from.</p>

<p>Re ucbalumnus:
It would certainly be difficult, but I think I can handle the undergrad analysis sequence if I put in enough effort. My concern is more related to grad school. I can see myself as a TA, but the research component of a graduate math degree seems very unapproachable right now.</p>

<p>Re gator4ever:
I've taken lots of placement tests. The results don't clearly point me in either direction, and the career advising staff can't really answer the hardest questions for me.
Thanks for the kind words.</p>

<p>Re DeskPotato:
That's definitely an advantage for statistics.</p>

<p>Re Marian:
Math/stats majors with a strong econ background are well-positioned for grad school in econ, so I don't see any real advantage to that major at this point.</p>

<p>Re thumper1:
The business school only accepts applications once per year, and if I push this a whole year down the road my life could get very complicated if I chose to go that route.</p>

<p>Re kiddie:
Where does one go after graduation with that combo?</p>

<p>Agree that if you can keep "sampling" classes, do so. Also agree that in this economy, having a marketable skill/degree is a good thing. CPAs are in demand, as are actuarys. Are you planning to go to grad school?</p>

<p>from a college's economics website:</p>

<p>The quantitative economics major takes the study of economics to a higher level, emphasizing quantitative methods to gain a deeper understanding of the basic ideas. This major prepares students for quantitative careers in finance, business, and law and for graduate studies in the social sciences.</p>

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<p>Finance, actuarial, and computer software work appear to be among the more common destinations for math and statistics graduates who do not go to graduate school. Actuarial jobs appear to be the target for at least some students in these majors. Does your college have a career survey like those found at <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/internships-careers-employment/1121619-university-graduate-career-surveys.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/internships-careers-employment/1121619-university-graduate-career-surveys.html&lt;/a> ?</p>

<p>I don't know you at all, noimagination, but one thing did speak to me in your opening paragraph:</p>

<p>"I thought my accounting class was a lot of fun. I like the structured problem solving."</p>

<p>Never discount the "fun" aspect of a potential major. My D is also an accounting major (she will graduate this June). She never ever imagined herself as an accountant but, like you, she really loved her first accounting class and she likes the practicality of her major. She still worries, though, if she has the "right" personality for an accountant, but we'll find out soon. Worse comes to worst, she might try to parlay her CPA into a position at the FBI.</p>

<p>Here is a plug from an actuary. At the time I was in school, I majored in applied math with the actuarial science option, took several classes in the business school, took econometrics, took the courses for the actuarial major. I knew I was never going to be great at the high level math, but I did grade homework papers and hold review sessions as an undergrad TA. I worked for twenty five years, and while the first few years were spent staring at a computer, my later years were filled with managing people and projects and relationships. I have great friends in the profession. </p>

<p>Many of the big societal problems are being addressed by actuaries. Many actuaries are working on smaller problems, but it is meaningful. Yea, the exams are tough, but worth the effort. Just my 2 cents.</p>

<p>Just to repeat what others have said upthread, but when I read about your interested - economics as a major jumped out at me. Have you taken any econ classes? </p>

<p>If you would be able to complete math or stats majors in 3 years, you could probably do so for economics as well. Econ can involve a lot of math, if you want it to, especially if there is a mathematical economics option, but more aimed as solving problems than at abstract mathematics. Econometrics combines econ and statistics. </p>

<p>A mathematical econ undergrad major could be a great launching pad for a lot of career paths including actuary or CPA, or a variety of finance related careers. Just be sure to take some accounting classes as an undergrad.</p>

<p>Do you think you would want to eventually go to graduate school? I've generally heard it recommended that it is better to not study business as an undergrad, but to get an MBA later.</p>

<p>Mrs. Turbo is double major statistics & comp sci undergrad and MS Statistics grad among others. Very entertaining major, especially paired with the right minor or concentration area. Depending on how deep you go into statistics in undergrad, proofs are not THAT much of a big deal at the undergrad level. As ucbalumnus mentioned, math does get more proof stuff earlier.</p>

<p>Accounting... Let's not get carried away here :). Once you pass the test and such the money is good, but, dude, it's tedious and very exact. One reason I love statistics is that it allows you to explore and find things, something most definitely you won't be doing in accounting.</p>

<p>Stats and business converge nicely in other areas, tho, economics for one. One of DD1's friends is doing this right now, but then the kid tested into Calc III... </p>

<p>Even grad stats is not THAT much theory oriented; Mrs. T. only had a couple courses that were theory heavy (her focus was applied stats for engineering/manufacturing).</p>

<p>^^ Hey, turbo - I feel the same way about stats that you feel about accounting (and I work all day, every day, with statistics and statisticians.) Tedious?!! I am counting the days until I can leave this place!</p>

<p>Or, in other words - to each his own!</p>

<p>Continue with the math and perhaps statistics idea. Do 4 years and take more courses- perhaps some of the more theoretical computer science ones as well as the math/stats. You may be able to take grad level math courses as an undergrad as well. Jobs are out there for math majors. Do not try to graduate with just the minimum credits- taking the extra semester or two to get more courses will enhance your education and employment skills.</p>

<p>Do the career center testing as mentioned in an earlier post. Insights worth knowing. If accounting doesn't grab you, don't worry. You don't need economics or a business degree to have job options.</p>

<p>Note that if being an actuary interests you, consider taking the courses that fulfill the "Validation by Educational Experience" list at Be</a> an Actuary .</p>