GF Picking a college major

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amd7239
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GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:39 pm

Girlfriend is a college sophomore and is having an identity crisis of sorts - She was premed but was overwhelmed by the time second semester of Chem and struggled gradewise.

She's not good at math or the hard sciences. She also has severe social anxiety so I don't think she would be good in a sales type job that is highly dependent on people skills or persuasion. I think the best job for her would either be a solitary job in a cubicle or working with animals. I suggested Veterinary technician but she didn't go for that because of the pay.
I can't think of any cubicle jobs for her skill set......Any Ideas?

She was considering majoring in psych or even going to a 2-year nursing school. I think nursing would be better as it is in demand. Unlikely to find a job with a general social science degree like psych.

Based on all this, what might be a good major for her?

She goes to BU, which has a pretty high tuition ($26k/semester). She lives with parents so no room + board costs. She does not want to transfer out to a cheaper school. Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.

There is a point where a college degree hurts you more than helps you, especially if your major is useless careerwise. Because of the high tuition, I do wonder if she would be better off dropping out and working temporary low pay jobs like in restaurants/retail.
Thoughts on this?
Last edited by amd7239 on Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

2stepsbehind
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by 2stepsbehind » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:49 pm

Who is currently paying for her tuition? I don't think dropping out to wait tables is wise, but she might consider taking a leave of absence to teach English abroad and use that time to travel and figure out what she wants to do. She should probably also check out that career services office at the University and take an aptitude test to get an idea of types of professions she might be best suited to. Depending on how her social anxiety manifests itself, nursing could be a nightmare.

delamer
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by delamer » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:51 pm

Not sure why she'd be thinking of nursing for someone who isn't good at hard science and has severe social anxiety.

Treament for the social anxiety might be the most useful thing she could do.

Solitary jobs often involve a high level of computer and/or math skills. Maybe paralegal?

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:57 pm

2stepsbehind wrote:Who is currently paying for her tuition?
Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.

2stepsbehind wrote:I don't think dropping out to wait tables is wise, but she might consider taking a leave of absence to teach English abroad and use that time to travel and figure out what she wants to do. She should probably also check out that career services office at the University and take an aptitude test to get an idea of types of professions she might be best suited to.
That's an interesting idea, but another issue is her parents are pressuring her to finish school because they are believers in the traditional "4-year college is for everyone" myth.

Why don't you think dropping out to wait tables is wise? At least it will be going straight into her pocket instead of to her loans! And she plans to stay home when we have kids , so I don't expect her to be working more than 3-4 years in the short term. After our kids grow up is a different story.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:00 pm

First, take a deep breath! Second, do not drop out of college because you find a particular course of study hard or difficult to transverse. The world is full of challenges, guess what, you adapt or you don't. She will adapt. Now, as for other options - it seems the GF is fixated on :moneybag potential - well, the jobs that pay really well for the most part require discipline, hard work, maybe a little luck, did I mention hard work and lots of time as well? No one comes out of 4 year undergrad making 6 figures yet - well, maybe a few do but those require special skills in math or computer sciences. Has she reviewed the book - what color is your parachute? How about visit a career center at school? Has she tried her hand at accounting? - not for everyone and don't try to crush the requirements in two years, her head will really spin. If she pursues accounting she should aim high and plan to sit for CPA exam. That is just one example. But there are others.......
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AZAttorney11
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:04 pm

amd7239 wrote:That's an interesting idea, but another issue is her parents are pressuring her to finish school because they are believers in the traditional "4-year college is for everyone" myth.

Why don't you think dropping out to wait tables is wise? At least it will be going straight into her pocket instead of to her loans! And she plans to stay home when we have kids , so I don't expect her to be working more than 3-4 years in the short term. After our kids grow up is a different story.
Life changes. For example, your girlfriend was premed and now she's not. You don't even know that you'll marry this young woman. You might want to give her some space and let her figure things out.

Does she truly have social anxiety, or is she simply deeply introverted?

metacritic
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by metacritic » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:07 pm

What's a useless major? I know people with BAs in anthropology, English, history, and sociology who work for McKinsey, investment banks, big world-transforming foundations, and more.

I am certain you mean well but I read this as someone who is trying to put his girlfriend into a well-defined box rather than helping her to unleash skills and opportunities. I'd back off and let her think through her ambitions, the skills she desires, and pathways to these points. It's overcoming those sorts of challenges that create competitive members of a workforce.


amd7239 wrote:Girlfriend is a college sophomore and is having an identity crisis of sorts - She was premed but was overwhelmed by the time second semester of Chem and struggled gradewise.

She's not good at math or the hard sciences. She also has severe social anxiety so I don't think she would be good in a sales type job that is highly dependent on people skills or persuasion. I think the best job for her would either be a solitary job in a cubicle or working with animals. I suggested Veterinary technician but she didn't go for that because of the pay.
I can't think of any cubicle jobs for her skill set......Any Ideas?

She was considering majoring in psych or even going to a 2-year nursing school. I think nursing would be better as it is in demand. Unlikely to find a job with a general social science degree like psych.

Based on all this, what might be a good major for her?

She goes to BU, which has a pretty high tuition ($26k/semester). She lives with parents so no room + board costs. She does not want to transfer out to a cheaper school. Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.

There is a point where a college degree hurts you more than helps you, especially if your major is useless careerwise. Because of the high tuition, I do wonder if she would be better off dropping out and working temporary low pay jobs like in restaurants/retail.
Thoughts on this?

ETadvisor
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by ETadvisor » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:11 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:
amd7239 wrote:That's an interesting idea, but another issue is her parents are pressuring her to finish school because they are believers in the traditional "4-year college is for everyone" myth.

Why don't you think dropping out to wait tables is wise? At least it will be going straight into her pocket instead of to her loans! And she plans to stay home when we have kids , so I don't expect her to be working more than 3-4 years in the short term. After our kids grow up is a different story.
Life changes. For example, your girlfriend was premed and now she's not. You don't even know that you'll marry this young woman. You might want to give her some space and let her figure things out.

Does she truly have social anxiety, or is she simply deeply introverted?
I knew someone exactly like this. She is now a Physician Assistant and makes a nice living wage. It took awhile for her to finish and her husband had to acquire the student loans but it beats waiting tables. With three children, she works part time with flexible hours.

2stepsbehind
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by 2stepsbehind » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:37 pm

amd7239 wrote:
2stepsbehind wrote:Who is currently paying for her tuition?
Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.

2stepsbehind wrote:I don't think dropping out to wait tables is wise, but she might consider taking a leave of absence to teach English abroad and use that time to travel and figure out what she wants to do. She should probably also check out that career services office at the University and take an aptitude test to get an idea of types of professions she might be best suited to.
That's an interesting idea, but another issue is her parents are pressuring her to finish school because they are believers in the traditional "4-year college is for everyone" myth.

Why don't you think dropping out to wait tables is wise? At least it will be going straight into her pocket instead of to her loans! And she plans to stay home when we have kids , so I don't expect her to be working more than 3-4 years in the short term. After our kids grow up is a different story.
If they are no longer paying, it shouldn't matter that much what they think. Frankly, I think she could use some time away from the bubble she's in so going abroad would be a good way for her to learn independence. No offense, but between you and her parents, I think she risks a life of mediocrity.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:49 pm

When you say not good in math.....are you talking calculus or math in general. Nursing has no math but does have lots of life science but it does involve interaction with people. Accounting could be good for sitting in the back room calculating but if even rudimentary math boggles her, then I guess not.

How about have her go the the BU career center and get some guidance. If she's on campus, I know it's $65k a year.
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Helo80
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Helo80 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:59 pm

metacritic wrote:What's a useless major? I know people with BAs in anthropology, English, history, and sociology who work for McKinsey, investment banks, big world-transforming foundations, and more.
I take it that your BA amigos are also hard-working, self-starters, right? I don't mean this in the context of OP's GF and her specific situation, but as a sidenote to the issue you raised. College and graduating from college is not some amazing achievement like it once was. BAs are not a ticket to a guaranteed doomed future --- but, when you crunch the numbers, sometimes getting an Associate's or picking up a trade will be far more lucrative than a 4 year BA.

I think OP is very correct in helping his GF plot a plan for after college, because there are a lot better and cheaper ways to "find yourself" than spend $26K per semester on tuition alone.

But, it's not mine or legally OP's student debt either. So, whatever....

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:06 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:
amd7239 wrote:That's an interesting idea, but another issue is her parents are pressuring her to finish school because they are believers in the traditional "4-year college is for everyone" myth.

Why don't you think dropping out to wait tables is wise? At least it will be going straight into her pocket instead of to her loans! And she plans to stay home when we have kids , so I don't expect her to be working more than 3-4 years in the short term. After our kids grow up is a different story.
Life changes. For example, your girlfriend was premed and now she's not. You don't even know that you'll marry this young woman. You might want to give her some space and let her figure things out.

Does she truly have social anxiety, or is she simply deeply introverted?
Truly has anxiety- she takes medication

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:08 pm

ETadvisor wrote:
AZAttorney11 wrote:
amd7239 wrote:That's an interesting idea, but another issue is her parents are pressuring her to finish school because they are believers in the traditional "4-year college is for everyone" myth.

Why don't you think dropping out to wait tables is wise? At least it will be going straight into her pocket instead of to her loans! And she plans to stay home when we have kids , so I don't expect her to be working more than 3-4 years in the short term. After our kids grow up is a different story.
Life changes. For example, your girlfriend was premed and now she's not. You don't even know that you'll marry this young woman. You might want to give her some space and let her figure things out.

Does she truly have social anxiety, or is she simply deeply introverted?
We have talked about

I knew someone exactly like this. She is now a Physician Assistant and makes a nice living wage. It took awhile for her to finish and her husband had to acquire the student loans but it beats waiting tables. With three children, she works part time with flexible hours.
Interesting- we had talked about physicans assistant but she had ruled it out, I think because it was too hard to get into school for it. Do you know what other options your friend was pursuing?

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:12 pm

2stepsbehind wrote:
amd7239 wrote:
2stepsbehind wrote:Who is currently paying for her tuition?
Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.

2stepsbehind wrote:I don't think dropping out to wait tables is wise, but she might consider taking a leave of absence to teach English abroad and use that time to travel and figure out what she wants to do. She should probably also check out that career services office at the University and take an aptitude test to get an idea of types of professions she might be best suited to.
That's an interesting idea, but another issue is her parents are pressuring her to finish school because they are believers in the traditional "4-year college is for everyone" myth.

Why don't you think dropping out to wait tables is wise? At least it will be going straight into her pocket instead of to her loans! And she plans to stay home when we have kids , so I don't expect her to be working more than 3-4 years in the short term. After our kids grow up is a different story.
If they are no longer paying, it shouldn't matter that much what they think. Frankly, I think she could use some time away from the bubble she's in so going abroad would be a good way for her to learn independence. No offense, but between you and her parents, I think she risks a life of mediocrity.
I agree with her going abroad. I've tried suggesting that before but got shot down. I'll try another angle...

AZAttorney11
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by AZAttorney11 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:12 pm

amd7239 wrote:Interesting- we had talked about physicans assistant but she had ruled it out, I think because it was too hard to get into school for it. Do you know what other options your friend was pursuing?
Life is hard. Other than being a member of the lucky sperm club and being born into wealth, the rest of us have to work, claw, and scratch to get to the top. And you've got to fail a few times, get up, and try again. Your GF can either let this be a temporary setback, or she can let it fundamentally change the course of her life. But avoiding things because they are too hard is a great way to live a mediocre and unfulfilling life.

Thesaints
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Thesaints » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:12 pm

Why does she want to go to college ?

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:15 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:When you say not good in math.....are you talking calculus or math in general. Nursing has no math but does have lots of life science but it does involve interaction with people. Accounting could be good for sitting in the back room calculating but if even rudimentary math boggles her, then I guess not.

How about have her go the the BU career center and get some guidance. If she's on campus, I know it's $65k a year.
She goes to the BU Metropolitan college (MET). I'll give the career center idea a shot-thanks!

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:17 pm

Helo80 wrote:
metacritic wrote:What's a useless major? I know people with BAs in anthropology, English, history, and sociology who work for McKinsey, investment banks, big world-transforming foundations, and more.
I take it that your BA amigos are also hard-working, self-starters, right? I don't mean this in the context of OP's GF and her specific situation, but as a sidenote to the issue you raised. College and graduating from college is not some amazing achievement like it once was. BAs are not a ticket to a guaranteed doomed future --- but, when you crunch the numbers, sometimes getting an Associate's or picking up a trade will be far more lucrative than a 4 year BA.

I think OP is very correct in helping his GF plot a plan for after college, because there are a lot better and cheaper ways to "find yourself" than spend $26K per semester on tuition alone.

But, it's not mine or legally OP's student debt either. So, whatever....

What kind of associates degrees or trades do you think might suit her? When I think of trades I think of technical stuff like electrician, plumber etc. which I know wouldn't suit her.

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:20 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:
amd7239 wrote:Interesting- we had talked about physicans assistant but she had ruled it out, I think because it was too hard to get into school for it. Do you know what other options your friend was pursuing?
Life is hard. Other than being a member of the lucky sperm club and being born into wealth, the rest of us have to work, claw, and scratch to get to the top. And you've got to fail a few times, get up, and try again. Your GF can either let this be a temporary setback, or she can let it fundamentally change the course of her life. But avoiding things because they are too hard is a great way to live a mediocre and unfulfilling life.

I can't tell you how many pieces of stoic philosophy I've tried to share with her but it just isn't registering...I suppose learning from experience is the only way she'll start to register this stuff so I'll just have to sit back and be patient.....

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alec
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by alec » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:21 pm

I think she should go talk to the college career counselors or a faculty advisor. Most majors assign you a faculty advisor. Find out what courses of subjects she likes. Many, many college kids go into college with something in mind, but switch to something else. I switched from engineering to no major, and then to economics a year later.

Having anxiety and taking something for it is not all that uncommon, but perhaps something new and different for someone who doesn't have it or taken things for anxiety.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Quickfoot » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:22 pm

There are tons of aptitude tests and books that will help people discover careers that they would enjoy, it's odd that she didn't do them BEFORE starting college, making use of them now is probably a better choice than advice from an investing forum. If she feels a two year degree would be better for her she should ignore her parents, it is her life not theirs.

Generally if money is important to her she needs to be prepared for a somewhat grueling college experience, high paying jobs are high paying because they demand skill sets that are hard to develop, if they were easy to learn the jobs wouldn't be high paying. Anti anxiety treatment and tutoring may also be a good approach.
Last edited by Quickfoot on Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

alex_686
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by alex_686 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:23 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:When you say not good in math.....are you talking calculus or math in general. Nursing has no math but does have lots of life science but it does involve interaction with people.
I know students who got flunked out of a AA Veterinarian Technician because they could not handle the math. Making solutions per the doctor's order requires a little high school algebra math.

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:23 pm

Thesaints wrote:Why does she want to go to college ?
Bottom line is she really doesn't have much motivation to be there.

She had high hopes at first about becoming a doctor so that was the original reason. Now, she really doesn't have a clear goal/reason for being there other than her parents want her to go. This is a big reason why I am writing this post...She's at a crossroads and I don't want her taking the conventional path simply because it's what her parents tell her to do

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Quickfoot » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:26 pm

Exactly, whatever she does needs to be because it is what she wants, if she doesn't know what she wants she needs to pause and figure it out before she wastes her time and her parent's money. Sunk costs are sunk so the money they spent already may be wasted but at least they can avoid wasting more money. It would be a tragedy for her parents to bankrupt herself only for her to wind up with a career she hates.

Thesaints
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Thesaints » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:27 pm

amd7239 wrote:
Thesaints wrote:Why does she want to go to college ?
Bottom line is she really doesn't have much motivation to be there.

She had high hopes at first about becoming a doctor so that was the original reason. Now, she really doesn't have a clear goal/reason for being there other than her parents want her to go. This is a big reason why I am writing this post...She's at a crossroads and I don't want her taking the conventional path simply because it's what her parents tell her to do
That's her biggest problem. In such a situation any small obstacle, even smaller than the ones she has, will cause her to fail.
Missing clear motivation I'd say cutting losses now is preferrable.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by PoppyA » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:31 pm

Then there is the school of thought that the Mother of your children should go to college so they are raised by an educated woman.
"La Bella Luna"

amd7239
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by amd7239 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:36 pm

Thesaints wrote:
amd7239 wrote:
Thesaints wrote:Why does she want to go to college ?
Bottom line is she really doesn't have much motivation to be there.

She had high hopes at first about becoming a doctor so that was the original reason. Now, she really doesn't have a clear goal/reason for being there other than her parents want her to go. This is a big reason why I am writing this post...She's at a crossroads and I don't want her taking the conventional path simply because it's what her parents tell her to do
That's her biggest problem. In such a situation any small obstacle, even smaller than the ones she has, will cause her to fail.
Missing clear motivation I'd say cutting losses now is preferrable.

...and she could always go back later. Perhaps now isn't the right time for college.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:57 pm

amd7239 wrote:
AZAttorney11 wrote:
amd7239 wrote:Interesting- we had talked about physicans assistant but she had ruled it out, I think because it was too hard to get into school for it. Do you know what other options your friend was pursuing?
Life is hard. Other than being a member of the lucky sperm club and being born into wealth, the rest of us have to work, claw, and scratch to get to the top. And you've got to fail a few times, get up, and try again. Your GF can either let this be a temporary setback, or she can let it fundamentally change the course of her life. But avoiding things because they are too hard is a great way to live a mediocre and unfulfilling life.

I can't tell you how many pieces of stoic philosophy I've tried to share with her but it just isn't registering...I suppose learning from experience is the only way she'll start to register this stuff so I'll just have to sit back and be patient.....
Pretty high expectations for a sophmore in college. I didn't figure out my career until after college. I had to work at figuring things out. Kinda slow, but it has worked out for me. Give the GF space. She doesn't know what she wants and pressure won't help. Shemay need to try different jobs out before she has an inkling of what she wants.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by aristotelian » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:13 pm

+1, your college major is not a life sentence. You can major in English and go grad school in Physics. The important thing is to study things that get you passionate, learn how to learn, and get good grades. Sounds like she needs to find herself, but that means you can't really make the choices for her, no matter how much you want to help.

Nursing is a very stressful occupation. The last thing you want to do is push her into a demanding job that she might not like.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by climber2020 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:16 pm

amd7239 wrote: Based on all this, what might be a good major for her?
How about being an accountant? There's math involved, but it's not advanced calculus.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Dendritic Tree » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:19 pm

aristotelian wrote:+1, your college major is not a life sentence.
+1. I was a philosophy major. And now I'm actually a productive member of society.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by e5116 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:36 pm

Geez, you guys make it seem like everybody should know what they want to do for the rest of their life before they enter college. She's just a college sophomore. I'd encourage her to take a variety of courses to see what she enjoys and then take it from there. I went to a top school and hardly anybody truly knew their career of choice that early. Heck, I was in the engineering school, and there was even a lot of uncertainty there. I applied to jobs in a few different fields when I was a senior and chose what I thought was the best fit/opportunity at the time and it served me well. I'd give her some space and let her explore different options -- that's part of college sometimes. Discovering yourself and seeing what you enjoy although I'd admit that you do typically have to declare a major sophomore year.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by flamesabers » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:51 pm

aristotelian wrote: your college major is not a life sentence.
I agree. Student debt on the other hand can be a bit of life sentence though.
climber2020 wrote:
amd7239 wrote: Based on all this, what might be a good major for her?
How about being an accountant? There's math involved, but it's not advanced calculus.
Accounting might be a good major for her, but I would recommend she look through an accounting textbook or two before signing up for an accounting class. Based on my own experiences and what I've read online, a lot of people end up dropping out of accounting because it's too boring and/or they have trouble understanding accounting concepts.
e5116 wrote:Geez, you guys make it seem like everybody should know what they want to do for the rest of their life before they enter college. She's just a college sophomore. I'd encourage her to take a variety of courses to see what she enjoys and then take it from there. I went to a top school and hardly anybody truly knew their career of choice that early. Heck, I was in the engineering school, and there was even a lot of uncertainty there. I applied to jobs in a few different fields when I was a senior and chose what I thought was the best fit/opportunity at the time and it served me well. I'd give her some space and let her explore different options -- that's part of college sometimes. Discovering yourself and seeing what you enjoy although I'd admit that you do typically have to declare a major sophomore year.
I don't think everyone should know what they want to do for a lifetime career at a young age. However, college can be a very expensive place to try to find out which career is best suited for you. As it is, I think college can require a tremendous amount of time, energy and money even when you're 100% certain on your major on day 1 of college.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by tibbitts » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:52 pm

e5116 wrote:Geez, you guys make it seem like everybody should know what they want to do for the rest of their life before they enter college. She's just a college sophomore. I'd encourage her to take a variety of courses to see what she enjoys and then take it from there. I went to a top school and hardly anybody truly knew their career of choice that early. Heck, I was in the engineering school, and there was even a lot of uncertainty there. I applied to jobs in a few different fields when I was a senior and chose what I thought was the best fit/opportunity at the time and it served me well. I'd give her some space and let her explore different options -- that's part of college sometimes. Discovering yourself and seeing what you enjoy although I'd admit that you do typically have to declare a major sophomore year.
I too am in favor of someone being able to explore options while in college, but not so much at BU, unless she's getting some kind of deal most people don't. Higher end colleges are for students who know what they want to get out of the experience. I didn't know what I wanted to do so I went to a community college and then a lower-end state college, and stumbled on a career I never would have thought of without having that experience of being forced to take courses in a variety of areas. I'm not as successful as most Bogleheads, but I think I've been successful relative to my talents and ambitions (or lack thereof.)

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:53 pm

metacritic wrote:What's a useless major? I know people with BAs in anthropology, English, history, and sociology who work for McKinsey, investment banks, big world-transforming foundations, and more.

I am certain you mean well but I read this as someone who is trying to put his girlfriend into a well-defined box rather than helping her to unleash skills and opportunities. I'd back off and let her think through her ambitions, the skills she desires, and pathways to these points. It's overcoming those sorts of challenges that create competitive members of a workforce.

This is part of the attitude that mints college grads with over 100k of debt and no real career prospects for many years. It forces young to reconsider having kids, getting maried, buying houses, and other major life events that previous generation see as normal. If OP's GF doesn't know what she wants to major in she shouldn't be tossing 23k per semester down a hole hoping it will eventually pile up enough for her to escape from it.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by bsteiner » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:59 pm

I think she should major in what she wants. I went out with several women who went to Boston University. One majored in political science or history and became a lawyer, one became a psychologist, and one majored in music, became a musician, and played in a symphony orchestra.
Last edited by bsteiner on Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by tibbitts » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:02 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
metacritic wrote:What's a useless major? I know people with BAs in anthropology, English, history, and sociology who work for McKinsey, investment banks, big world-transforming foundations, and more.

I am certain you mean well but I read this as someone who is trying to put his girlfriend into a well-defined box rather than helping her to unleash skills and opportunities. I'd back off and let her think through her ambitions, the skills she desires, and pathways to these points. It's overcoming those sorts of challenges that create competitive members of a workforce.

This is part of the attitude that mints college grads with over 100k of debt and no real career prospects for many years. It forces young to reconsider having kids, getting maried, buying houses, and other major life events that previous generation see as normal. If OP's GF doesn't know what she wants to major in she shouldn't be tossing 23k per semester down a hole hoping it will eventually pile up enough for her to escape from it.
In fairness previous generations got to benefit from this process without the big debt at the end - those life events were still considered normal for us even after weaving our way through the education process for a few too many years. Every generation has some advantages and disadvantages of course.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:03 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by JMacDonald » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:09 pm

My niece who is not good at math went to American Career College to become a dental assistant: http://americancareercollege.edu

Maybe your GF should go that route and skip the four year college program. There is probably a similar program in the area you live. Learn a skill and earn a living. She can always go back to college later.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by greg24 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:09 pm

Overwhelmed, somewhat unmotivated, unsure what to study, attending college because it is expected. Dealing with social anxiety.

Maybe dropping out of school and getting a job waiting tables is exactly what she needs.

Make some money.
Get some perspective on college life from the "wage slave" point of view.
Decide if college is really for her.
Stepping away may make her choice major clearer.
Waiting tables gives her many social interactions per day, either helping ease some of her anxiety, or finding out just how bad it is.

Life can be funny. Good luck.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Zetterberg07 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:18 pm

amd7239 wrote:Girlfriend is a college sophomore and is having an identity crisis of sorts - She was premed but was overwhelmed by the time second semester of Chem and struggled gradewise.

She's not good at math or the hard sciences. She also has severe social anxiety so I don't think she would be good in a sales type job that is highly dependent on people skills or persuasion. I think the best job for her would either be a solitary job in a cubicle or working with animals. I suggested Veterinary technician but she didn't go for that because of the pay.
I can't think of any cubicle jobs for her skill set......Any Ideas?

She was considering majoring in psych or even going to a 2-year nursing school. I think nursing would be better as it is in demand. Unlikely to find a job with a general social science degree like psych.

Based on all this, what might be a good major for her?

She goes to BU, which has a pretty high tuition ($26k/semester). She lives with parents so no room + board costs. She does not want to transfer out to a cheaper school. Her parents have been paying so she has zero debt now, but they run out of money so now, more college = debt.

There is a point where a college degree hurts you more than helps you, especially if your major is useless careerwise. Because of the high tuition, I do wonder if she would be better off dropping out and working temporary low pay jobs like in restaurants/retail.
Thoughts on this?

I rarely post, but your girlfriend's situation scares me to the point where I felt I should say something. As a sophomore with tuition of 26k per semester, she's looking at an additional outlay of at least 100k between now and graduation. And this assumes she graduates in 4 years, which seems somewhat unlikely given her change of major and the fact that she still doesn't know what she wants to do. In my opinion she needs to take a break right now, before she screws up her life with crazy student debt (unlike credit cards and many other forms of debt, student loans usually can't be discharged in bankruptcy, so she will likely be stuck with them forever). "Finding yourself" as a self-pay student at a super-expensive school like BU is a great way to get buried under an untenable mountain of student debt. I don't think she should go back until she has a clear idea of what she wants to do and how a specific degree will help her achieve that goal. And personally I would go to a cheaper public school unless I truly thought the BU degree would offer some substantial benefit justifying the much higher tuition. Best of luck.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by blevine » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:23 pm

I graduated from BU long ago. Best decision I made, money well spent. You can study almost anything at BU, she should try different classes and activities and find herself. Expensive but amazing opportunity to find and develop interests.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:32 pm

Unless you are determined to take of her, lifelong or work with her both professionally and family wise for a very long time, you should allow her to decide her education / career.

Her parents had already paid for two years of tuition, so they have a stake in their daughter's life more than you, at this time.

It is a cultural thing, but if you want to speak for your wife when you pay the bills for the family, then the discussion may be different.

Any student while studying should focus on education, rather than relationships. YMMW !!!

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by camillus » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:34 pm

I think working with career service is the first action step.

I really cringe at the thought of "trying different things" at BU at $24 a semester. What cheaper schools does she have access to?

I am a nurse. One of the neat things about nursing as opposed to MD or even PA is that you can work your way up incrementally with 2-year degrees:
2 year ADN-RN
2 year RN to BSN
2 year BSN to NP

At the end of each two years you can stop going to school and work for awhile and think about if you'd like to continue. You don't have to commit to a long course with mountains of student debt.

My second career (accelerated) BSN cost $20k in total and took 15 months. I am debt free. The family practice doctor who lives across the street from me has more student debt than the mortgage on his house.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Watty » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:29 pm

camillus wrote:I think working with career service is the first action step.

+1000

Working with computers might be an option to ask about if that is something she is interested in and good at. A Computer Science degree might be too technical for her but most colleges also have less technical information technology degrees.
amd7239 wrote:....and struggled gradewise.
One issue that she may be facing is that at some colleges you have to be accepted into the new major when you want to change majors so there is also a question of which departments she can get into with less than stellar grades. The college career center should have a pretty good idea of what the admission policies are for various department.
amd7239 wrote: a solitary job in a cubicle
Just FYI, The trend in many offices is to move away from cubicles and into some variation of an open office environment. The company I worked for before I retired was doing that and that really did not work well at least for me.

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by bayview » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:50 am

Why did she want to be a physician? Is she interested in healthcare, or was it "seems like that would be neat" feelings?

I work in healthcare (VA), and we employ a ton of social workers. Not the usual mental image you might have of local public employees with an overwhelming caseload of children, and something awful happens, and... Social workers in medical settings work with patients and families on placement options after hospitalization, qualification for medical assistance programs, patient advocacy, general discharge planning, and a ton of other areas. Others work from the counseling end. Many of our smaller programs in our VA hospital are run by social workers (visual impairment/ legal blindness, traumatic brain injury, homeless program, LGBT veterans, women veterans, working with incarcerated veterans.) All our social workers are LCSWs (licensed clinical social workers), which IIRC mean master's level, with the master's being a 12-18 month program.

They're paid very well, and they're an important part of what we do. Until I worked in hospitals (both private sector and VA), I had no idea.

Meanwhile back to the immediate issue, it seems like colleges have so many gen ed requirements these days that the first two or 2 1/2 years are often eaten up by non-major coursework. Perhaps she might ignore the entire major + career area and just get in her other requirements. Once she gets a better idea of what she wants to do, she'll have a lot of that other checked off the list.
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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:01 am

Wow. I have an image of a 19 or 20 year old young woman, parents and BF with their boots on her neck, probably without realizing that they're choking off her air.

Why isn't she the one posting?

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by Rupert » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:39 am

There are all sorts of career paths in healthcare that pay decently, don't require an M.D. or an R.N., and don't require tons of social skills. How about physical therapy, audiology, radiology technician, radiology technologist, (I could rattle off a hundred more)?

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by metacritic » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:48 am

+1000. OP strikes me as intent on controlling her decision making in ways that strkie me as deeply harmful. Reading others encouraging his interventions of this kind is saddening.

TomatoTomahto wrote:Wow. I have an image of a 19 or 20 year old young woman, parents and BF with their boots on her neck, probably without realizing that they're choking off her air.

Why isn't she the one posting?
TomatoTomahto wrote:Wow. I have an image of a 19 or 20 year old young woman, parents and BF with their boots on her neck, probably without realizing that they're choking off her air.

Why isn't she the one posting?

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Re: GF Picking a college major

Post by North Texas Cajun » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:52 am

metacritic wrote:What's a useless major? I know people with BAs in anthropology, English, history, and sociology who work for McKinsey, investment banks, big world-transforming foundations, and more.
Yeah, there are some with liberal arts who succeed in the ways you mentioned. But every such person I've met has had outstanding people skills, and the ability to sell themselves to anyone. That's not the person described by the OP.

I've known many more liberal arts graduates who are working at Starbucks or delivering mail or trying to sell houses. If a person wants to earn a good salary soon after earning a bachelors degree, the odds aren't good if she chooses anthropology, psychology, history, or any other of the soft majors.

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