help - What major?

<p>Hello all - 'analysis paralysis' taking hold and would love some opinions </p>

<p>Helping DD decide on a major that will give options for adv. degrees and careers- she's a HS senior this year. (will influence College selections...)</p>

<p>Strengths - Sciences, writing/lit, personable, good grades and test scores - prob. nmf (fingers crossed)
tolerates math, but does well...</p>

<p>Doesn't want to be a doc, but some kind of phys/occ therapy is on her radar, as well as speech path, etc. .. VERY open to other ideas. should she get a bio undergrad of some sort, or pre-med, or other?? </p>

<p>Thank you!!.</p>

<p>She won't have to pick her major until she's at least a soph in college. Most college students change majors at least twice due to their learning more about themselves and about academic and career possibilities.</p>

<p>Freshman and soph year in particular are a time in which students can explore many things before deciding what to settle upon as their major and temporary (since most people change careers several times during their lives) career choice.</p>

<p>You also can suggest that she use the university's counseling or career center to take an assessment that will help her determine what kind of career might best suit her interests and goals.</p>

<p>^ While she doesn't have to decide yet, it's good to narrow things down to a particular field, particularly as it helps direct towards colleges that are strong in that area, and also can give some guidance to the selection of first-year courses (if the college you choose doesn't have a set curriculum). That being said, I do agree with NSM that you don't need to narrow it down too far at this point. I think her knowing she wants to do something in the sciences, but not medical school, is a good enough starting point. She should take a range of intro science classes and see what appeals to her the most, and maybe balance out wtih some humanities both for sanity and for breadth.</p>

<p>Any school that provides a broad range of majors should fit her needs (which is basically any LAC or university, with the exception of strictly tech schools)</p>

<p>True she doesn't have to choose the major yet (thank goodness!), but we're finding dif. schools have significant strengths vs weaknesses.</p>

<p>I don't want her to end up at school 'A', just to find as a sophomore that she really should have picked 'B' for more choices...and if she is blessed with a nmf scholarship they usually don't transfer...</p>

<p>BTW - She has a twin brother also in the college hunt (though I think his choices are slightly more straight-forward), so forgive me if I seem a bit overwhelmed by it all! </p>

<p>Maybe a better question would be what colleges in our region (Oklahoma) have good bio, pre-med, etc. undergrads - might make another post. </p>

<p>Thank you for the input (please keep it coming)...just trying to anticipate bumps in the road - don't like nasty surprises!</p>

<p>Rather than looking for a specific major, consider looking for schools with a Pre-Health Professional Advising Program. That's what we'll do for my D. She wants to be a PT. Pre-health advising programs are often very broad in the guidance they give students and don't limit them the traditional concept of a "pre-med" major (which isn't what either of our Ds want).</p>

<p>DougBetsy - good advice... I'm checking into that. thanks</p>

<p>In most instances, you only have to pick your major going in if it's a very specialized, highly structured program or one to which you have to be specially admitted (because of limited enrollment or special qualifications such as an artistic portfolio).</p>

<p>Everybody else gets to change their minds about their majors -- often frequently.</p>

<p>But -- some majors are more structured than others. You have to take course A before course B before course C, etc. If you pick one of these majors late in the game, you may find that you cannot complete it in the standard 8 semesters, and extra semesters cost $$$.</p>

<p>Therefore, if you're unsure of your major, make sure that you're taking the prerequisite courses for the most structured of the majors under consideration, as well as some introductory courses in the other fields (to test your interest). </p>

<p>When I started college, I was not sure whether I wanted to major in psychology or biology, but I thought psychology was more likely. To keep my options open, I started taking the prerequisite courses for the highly structured biology major in my first semester, while also taking a few psychology courses (even though I could have started on the prerequisites for that major later because it was much less structured) to test my interest in the subject. To my surprise, I liked biology much more than psychology. When the time came to choose a major, I chose biology. If I had not taken the biology prerequisites, I would not have been prepared to complete the biology major on time. If I had not taken several psychology courses, I wouldn't have realized that I didn't really like psychology. My strategy worked out well for me.</p>

<p>Unfortunately both OT and PT fit "you only have to pick your major going in if it's a very specialized, highly structured program or one to which you have to be specially admitted". Although both OT and PT now expect a graduate degree as well the expectation is that you get your undergraduate degree in OT or PT. I don't know much about the process of becoming a Speach Pathologist. I do know, however, that they are very much in demand. Ten-15 years ago there was an extremely high demand for OTs but I think that has diminished. If your daughter is seriously interested in any of these fields you should do a little more investigating.</p>

<p>Is there any place that your DD could get involved as a part-time job or volunteer where they do OT or PT, or some health care related work? Even volunteering at the hospital? Does the high school have a health care related track?</p>

<p>Info about what's needed to become a speech pathologist, occupational therapist or physical therapist:</p>

<p>Speech-Language</a> Pathologist - Career Information</p>

<p>Occupational</a> Therapists</p>

<p>Physical</a> Therapist - Career Information</p>

<p>Your daughter might also think about other allied health fields. My sister, who was very good in chemistry and the like, and a pretty good writer, is a registered dietician. Right now she works in hospitals and nursing homes designing specialized diets for people who must be tube-fed; at earlier points she's worked with anorexic patients, morbidly obese people, people who've had their stomachs stapled, kids with various kinds of dietary intolerances, and so on. As an undergraduate her program was similar to pre-med with several specialized courses tacked on. She eventually got her master's degree. The job is interesting, varied, and highly technical, and there is a lot of demand.</p>

<p>Here is an older article on health science programs:
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/education/05career.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/education/05career.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>as well as a link to Marquette's College of Health Sciences:
College</a> of Health Sciences | Marquette University</p>

<p>. . . and I do realize Marquette is not in the geographical area you specified :). I thought you/your daughter might want to look at the website just as an example of the type of program in which she may be interested.</p>

<p>
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Helping DD decide on a major that will give options for adv. degrees and careers- she's a HS senior this year. (will influence College selections...)

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</p>

<p>I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but you might want to reconsider "helping" your DD pick a major before she's even in college. The decision of what to major in needs to be your DD's decision, not yours. As a math prof, I've dealt with many students who, because they were decent in math, have been pushed by their parents into studying math education in order to become a high school math teacher even though at the college level it's become apparent they do not have the interest (and sometimes the talent) to actually complete such a major. Unfortunately many of these students are also very reluctant to tell mom&dad that they no longer want to be a high school math teacher (if they every did in the first place).</p>

<p>Yes, for highly structured, very specific majors, you do basically have to know ahead of time. But to make it work, you also need to really understand what that major entails and be really committed to it---or go to a place where it's not that difficult to switch out of a highly structured program into something else.</p>

<p>As NSM has said, most American college students change majors, sometimes more than once. One of the most difficult things for students to do, however, is change out of a major that they feel their parents think they should be in to a major they enjoy more, but some how seems less practical.</p>

<p>Rather than help your DD decide on a major ahead of time, take time to * listen * to what your DD has to say about what she wants to do with her life and what kinds of things she is interested in studying in college. Worry about grad school if/when she decides she wants to or needs to further her education after college.</p>

<p>My DD is a rising college freshman and is a NMS who loves Biology, History, English, Calculus, and Spanish. She is going to a LAC with the hope she finds her "passion." I can't imagine trying to pigeon-hole her at this point.</p>