I’ll bet that it wasnt the liberal arts degree that made you successful-- It was your personality; your ability to deal with people, and your willingness to take risks, etc
You probably could have been just as successful without every learning anything about art history or without writing any papers on the social customs of tribes in the jungles of Africa.
Though I’m sure that the degree was important-- as an entry ticket to get your foot in the door.*
But for a 17 year-old just starting out, it seems a little unfair to advise him to get a liberal arts degree, because you were successful with it.
Far, far more liberal-arts majors end up as bartenders than as six-figure project managers married to vice presidents of billion-dollar corporations.
If you want to recommend a liberal arts major, the best advice to the OP’s teenager should be “get a liberal arts degree…IF (and only if) you ALSO have other skills.”
That means–if you have the personality to manage people, you speak well and exude confidence, are willing to take heavy risks and can adapt to new and totally unfamiliar situations, and you know how to network very,very well.
If at age 18 you’ve only worked Mcjobs with no responsibility, a liberal arts degree may not lead to a career.
But if at age 18 you’ve already built a resume, a liberal arts degree may be right for you.
If you’ve been a counsellor at a summer camp; and worked as a lifeguard at the YMCA and got promoted to organizing activities for kids; or played music in a band and sold your services under contract to play at wedding receptions; or if you’ve worked in retail, and already been promoted to shift manager…and most of all…if while doing these things, you’ve built up a large network of references----then you will probably succeed in life, no matter what degree you choose to study.
But your success won’t be because of the degree.
If you are a typical average 17 year old with no resume and no direction, and you vaguely hope that “going to college” will somehow set you on the path to success—don’t go for a liberal arts degree.Get a degree with a specific skill that leads to specific type of job.
*(And congratulations on being successful once you were there!)