From the perspective of parents, how much does your major actually matter?

<p>Most people I talk to (i.e. the Career Center at my school, older students, adult friends) tell me that your major really doesn't matter. What matters more is what you do with you major and how well you perform. They say that employers only look to see how trainable you are and in most fields, assume they will teach you everything you need to know. </p>

<p>However, for some reason, I'm having a hard time accepting this. Especially as I keep seeing so many threads about "useless" majors and lists of the most profitable majors. People tell me that you can get almost any job with almost any major (barring of course, engineering/science jobs) With the job market so tight at this point, is this really true? </p>

<p>Some background about myself: I'm really torn between majoring in Econ vs majoring in Public Policy (both popular majors at my school). Personally, I feel that Econ is a better major because it is actually teaches you a specific set of tools. However, I feel that I enjoy Public Policy better, am better at it, and like the department more at my school. Does it really matter which major I pick? And on a side note, do any of you know anything about the job market for Public Policy majors?</p>

<p><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> might help with major by major comparisons of employment and graduate school outcomes of graduates. Cal Poly SLO and UC Berkeley have relatively detailed information compared to most of the others.</p>

<p>Job and career prospects should not be the only reason to select a major. However, it is good to be aware of how majors may differ in this respect before deciding on one. If you choose a major whose job and career prospects are not that good, you can proactively take action early (e.g. live frugally to minimize debt, apply aggressively for internships and jobs early, etc.) to reduce the risk of graduating in heavy debt with no job. You may also have several subjects you like approximately equally well, in which case you can use the job and career prospects as a tiebreaker in choosing your major between them.</p>

<p>Can you double major? That's what I did -- art history and economics. My first job was at an auction house, where I really felt like I was using my art knowledge and nascent understanding of business at the same time.</p>

<p>If it's too heavy a course load to double major, then just choose one -- I can see either Econ or Public Policy as giving you the education and knowledge base to do a multiple of things. I like Econ because it gives you a platform -- a way of thinking and analyzing problems -- that I've found very useful.</p>

<p>My brother was an Econ major; now he's a physician, but he has drawn on his econ background to form his group's business plan.</p>

<p>To answer your question, does what you major in matter? It does, in that it should be something you're interested in. I would go with the one that matches how you see the world. There is no "one perfect choice" for a major. If it interests you, it will help you find a job that interests you.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>I think you should major in what interests you the most.</p>

<p>Some majors are more vocational (nursing, accounting, engineering, education, social work, business), but in general, when you look at employment postings, they specify a bachelor's degree, not a major. Finishing college implies a certain level of competence and perseverance for potential hirers, I think.</p>

<p>Some undergrad vocational degrees are considered (or used to be) limiting in the long run. Undergrad business, for instance, does not have the same benefit for career as an MBA. Some ads will say "degree in social work or human services." A degree that is that specialized, that early, used to mean more difficulties rising to a management or policy role, but that may not be true anymore. Top schools don't have the majors listed above, at all.</p>

<p>Some employers also say "or equivalent experience" (to a degree). This practice may fade as more people are attending college.</p>

<p>I think that internships/volunteering should be tailored to future employment, and sometimes those positions are found through the school or department, so there is a link there, but otherwise, I don't think non-vocational majors need to be tied to future employment at all.</p>

<p>College is still about getting a broad perspective, skills such as research and writing, and training the mind in general. But it costs a lot, and the push in recent years to link college education to future salary is kind of understandable in light of personal debt as well as the country's economy. But I think that it is misguided, and hope the pendulum swings back.</p>

<p>Some majors matter a lot, others not so much. I think you'll be all right to major in public policy and take enough economics on the side that you aren't an ignoramus. What will be more important to your ultimate employabilty is what sort of jobs and internships you can snag before you graduate.</p>