GF Picking a college major

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AZAttorney11
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by AZAttorney11 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:28 pm

This could end up horrifically bad if she's not careful. When does the fall semester start, three or four weeks? So she's going to take $52,000 per year to major in psychology when she's battling overbearing parents, a boyfriend that is trying to help but could potentially be suffocating her, and she's got a social anxiety disorder?! The absolute worse case is for her to pay $52k a year for three more years with a degree that she's not passionate about and that doesn't have solid career prospects. Man, I couldn't imagine being 22-23 and graduating from BU with $156k in student loans (plus accrued but unpaid interest, plus whatever annual increases BU charges, etc.). Could easily be looking at $175k+ in student loans for a BA in Psych. Yikes.

General Disarray
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by General Disarray » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:28 pm

This is why there are general education requirements at most colleges and universities. Students are forced to take classes in various disciplines (mostly the arts and sciences), and from this "buffet" of classes, the students may find that they are especially passionate about one discipline. Let her choose herself without the pressure. But she needs to sample the pickings first.

There is no point in pressuring her to major in a STEM or more lucrative discipline when she simply has neither the interest nor the talent. While chasing after the money may make utilitarian sense, if a person does not show competence in that field, and at least a good degree of passion for the field, it's just not going to work.

While I can understand the reluctance to major in the social sciences and humanities, I think most people do not fully understand the content of the academic disciplines. A lot of the social sciences, for instance, can be quantitatively oriented--economics, sociology, psychology, and political science, for instance. Subfields in these disciplines use statistics, which is far more marketable than a subfield that is qualitative/non-quantitative.

In general, though, I say back off and let her decide herself. She is a sophomore--19 or so. She can't possibly have her entire life figured out at that age. Hell, a lot of college graduates have absolutely no idea what they want to do upon graduation and find out well after college that they wants to go back and pursue a graduate degree in a completely different/unrelated field. The path towards a viable career is not always so linear. But in the end, it is HER life, not yours or her parents. It is SHE who needs to be happy with her choice.

Helo80
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Helo80 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:39 pm

OP, one thing to consider is that posters in this forum have zero debt, very well paying careers, and sizeable nest eggs in Vanguard and elsewhere. Some of these folks could easily send their 4 (or more) daughters to BU and let them do whatever and still live very comfortably in retirement. Not so much on this forum, but you get into the really high net worth individuals in the east coast that run hedge funds, company owners, are high up in IB, physicians with A-list clientele, and these families can all afford to have their children basically "explore their passions through the arts, dance, and other humanities". (Note: the purpose of this comment is not for any BH to get defensive about the Arts; rather, understand that unless you're like like the Lady Gaga or Katy Perry of your industry, going to hollywood to be an actor or a singer is likely going to end very badly. There is a reason why "work" is called "work").

The issue is, if your GF does not know what she wants to do or take her career (sounds like she got academically weeded out of pre-med.... probably would have happened in O chem during her sophomore year if she struggled in her freshman year), since she does not have parents (or a family or scholarship) that can carry her forward, I think you absolutely are doing the right thing to help guide her before she signs the dotted line and accumulates another $26k in student debt.

For a side note in history....
Part of the reason the government has made discharging student debt so difficult was that very intelligent physicians and lawyers (I'm sure many other professions did this as well, but these two you generally are looking at 7-8 years of education with no income) several decades ago would accumulate very large sums of student debt in their undergraduate and professional school training (when interest rates were FAR higher as well), and then basically declare bankruptcy to discharge the debt and start their (now) high paying careers. Nowadays, you basically have to be a vegetable or dead to discharge student debt.
Last edited by Helo80 on Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Helo80
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Helo80 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:46 pm

General Disarray wrote: There is no point in pressuring her to major in a STEM or more lucrative discipline when she simply has neither the interest nor the talent. While chasing after the money may make utilitarian sense, if a person does not show competence in that field, and at least a good degree of passion for the field, it's just not going to work.
Agreed. People do STEM because of highpaying jobs at the end, but then get weeded out by three semesters of Calculus and other entry level engineering classes that separate out the contenders from the pretenders.

The thing about other fields in college --- we frankly have too many of them coming out of college now. This is not to denigrate college graduates, as I am one... several times. Rather, the workplace has become far more competitive, and you need to go to college to learn skills that will get you in the door for your first job afterwards.
General Disarray wrote: In general, though, I say back off and let her decide herself. She is a sophomore--19 or so. She can't possibly have her entire life figured out at that age. Hell, a lot of college graduates have absolutely no idea what they want to do upon graduation and find out well after college that they wants to go back and pursue a graduate degree in a completely different/unrelated field. The path towards a viable career is not always so linear. But in the end, it is HER life, not yours or her parents. It is SHE who needs to be happy with her choice.
Correct, it is her life, but I think i know where OP is coming from and I'm shocked many are treating him like a problem.

There are plenty of college grads now that come out and struggle to find meaningful work (beyond the service industry like a barista or wait staff ---- and no,I don't mean that to denigrate the service industry but rather many college grads were expecting something different before they took out student loans). Maybe OP's GF will learn from these other peoples mistakes with huge amounts of student debt and a degree that is not counting for much.

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:51 pm

General Disarray wrote: There are plenty of college grads now that come out and struggle to find meaningful work (beyond the service industry like a barista or wait staff ---- and no,I don't mean that to denigrate the service industry but rather many college grads were expecting something different before they took out student loans). Maybe OP's GF will learn from these other peoples mistakes with huge amounts of student debt and a degree that is not counting for much.
+1

Thank you! This is exactly my worry. I would rather she learn from the mistakes of others than her own...

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:03 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (topic exhausted, no added value to continue). The discussion has already started to derail with relationship issues. See: Locked Topics
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