College Major Question

waves hand
A biology degree isn’t quite as worthless as you make it out to be. I got a decent paying job as a research technician right out of college. It’s a pretty sweet gig – all the fun bits of being a grad student, but I get better pay and I can go home at 5 pm (though most other techs perform more menial tasks). And I’d like to see a job that pays better than $30k to someone just graduated from high school…

Granted, career advancement is nearly impossible without a PhD. If I stay where I am, someday I might become… a slightly more senior tech, with slightly better pay. After that, I suppose I could be a lab manager, and earn a bit more. So I’m applying to PhD programs next year.

And, there are plenty of 2-year degrees that will lead straight to a higher paying job with better career prospects…

IME, you can’t do much of anything specific to your area of study with a B.A. of any kind. With a B.S., you might end up a little closer to your field, but it will be grunt work. With a Master’s, you’ll probably be in that field, but you still won’t be doing anything thrilling, and you’ll be working for someone else. A PhD or two will get you what you want to work with, but then you’re probably going to be up against a billion other people with the same academic qualifications but more experience.

FWIW, I have a B.A. in English Lit with a minor in CompSci, and while my job does involve a decent amount of editing and IT support, almost none of it relates directly to anything I studied specifically in college.

True, those jobs are out there. I’ll just say this. I worked a very similar job for about six years, and what I got from that experience was that there was no way I could do that for the rest of my life without going insane. The company I was working for even had more of a career ladder available to me, but if I went any higher, it would have been just another desk job, which sounded awful to me. That’s why I ended up back in school.

It’s true, though, that lots of people are perfectly happy doing that as a career. I don’t look down on them - in many ways I envy them, because if I could have been happy doing that, my life would be much easier in many many ways. It just wasn’t for me.

I just posted this in another thread here:

To elaborate on my post, having eliminated history as a potential major, I also had to decide between some type of engineering and a degree in chemistry. I decided that a B.S. in Chemical Engineering would do a lot more for me than a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and I was right.

I considered getting a double major in history, considering that I had 12 credit hours of history (AP credit) before I even started college, but it still would have required many more classes beyond what was already required for my ChemE degree, not to mention required Navy ROTC classes, so I ended up dropping the idea.

To those commenting on the numbers involved in marketing.

Yes, marketing requires math and yes some of the really quant heavy sectors of marketing require lots of math.

BUT - marketing in general requires less work with numbers than the other majors I suggested - finance, accounting, and engineering.

And the heaviest quant side of a normal marketing job will never compare to the heaviest quant side of a normal finance job.

It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing.

Or maybe you were just never told any of this, as most colleges I know seem to act like merely going to them will set you up for life. Lack of information does not make one an idiot.

Last time I checked we were in GQ, not make up bullshit judgmental crap zone. Being judgmental hurts people, and the more you hurt people, the harder it is for them not to hurt you back.

I don’t know. I think it was a fair comment.

BigT, I appreciate what you’re saying, and certainly Hello Again could have phrased things more tactfully. But someone who has earned their B.A. at the typical age (early 20s) and hasn’t worked *any *job ever, not even as a volunteer or an unpaid intern, almost certainly *is *either shortsighted or lazy, unless they’re involved in approximately fifty bagillion extracurricular activities, some of which would probably be citeable as relevant experience on a job application. The alternative is someone who will at least *appear to be *someone who’s spent their entire life being supported by their parents and doing whatever they want in their free time, which is not the most sterling quality for an applicant to have.

Knew it. After reading your posts I’ve really began thinking about marketing/finance kind of things. It isn’t something that teachers tell us about in high school, and marketing seems like something I may be able to tolerate. I am always told that I should get into bio fields and “Go Green” due to my heavy science course load in high school (Not really heavy, but as heavy as it gets here with a few ap courses and a series of chem classes,) but I don’t really like science anymore :frowning:

There really is no need to start thinking about your major at this point. Most schools don’t even require you to declare a major until after a year or so. Just relax and concentrate on kicking ass at high school for now.

I was the same way. Started out with a double major in Bio and English, but I eventually switched to just English. Don’t let high school dictate what you do in college–go for what you’re interested in. Just be realistic about how far your degree is going to take you. (I happened to get very lucky with the job I’m in now.)

I laughed at myself when I read over the posts on this thread. I’ve changed my major three times just in this thread, proving every school academic counselor I’ve ever talked to right.

I don’t believe not working == lazy. And really, really hate it when people make fun of people not knowing things, claiming it means they are idiots. To me, lazy and idiot are insults, and should be reserved for people who intentionally do something wrong.

I hate the idea of these assumptions people make about people. There’s so much crap in the world that people just expect you to figure out on your own, rather than actually telling you. And I think judging someone for something you didn’t tell them is just trolling for reasons to hate people. If you want to expect something out of someone, you tell them exactly what that expectation is.

And, yes, I’m mostly mad about the wording. To the point where, if it were legal, I think such a comment would at least be grounds for a punch in the face.

Oops. Left out an explanation for my first sentence. I don’t work, but it has nothing to do with being lazy. I have other things I am dealing with that require my full attention. I do do a lot of volunteer stuff, but only within my current abilities.

I consider it prejudging someone to assume because they don’t work, they must be lazy. I’m pretty sure if most people were in my condition, they’d have killed themselves a long time ago.

When I worked in a Sales organization, tons of people had degrees in English, History, Art, Elementary Education, etc. The successful ones had been successful at selling all kinds of things. Real Estate, books, telecoms, consulting services, accounting services. My sales finance team all had degrees in Accounting or Finance.

Now I work in a Finance group at a large company. All seventeen people on the team have Accounting or Finance degrees. I am the Financial Systems manager. Everyone in my group has degrees in both Accounting/Finance and Information Systems (either Finance undergrad and MIS/CS masters or two masters).

In the last ten years I have worked in Finance at three companies. I have worked with exactly one person who didn’t have a Finance/Accounting degree. He was a math major.

You’re taking the comment way too personally. Of course if there are extenuating circumstances/conditions/etc., that will be taken into consideration. The comment, as I read it, was a general comment for your average, healthy, able-bodied job seeker. As for prejudging, well, yes, it’s a prejudgment. But when an employer sees a resume and no work history (and no explanations in the cover letter), they’re going to jump to their own conclusions. For some, it may not be a big deal. For others, it will. If you want to give yourself the best opportunities in the job market out of college, having any kind of work experience is helpful, but you really do want targeted work experience in the field you want to get into, if you can manage it. I don’t understand why all this is controversial.