What to do With That Major?

Jason Fertig

As I’m reading this commentary by Professor Peggy Drexler on advice to students for getting their first job, I can’t get a thought out of my head.  Drexler advises students to not fear jobs out of their fields of study because they cannot predict what will happen in the future and most grads don’t start off in their fields anyway. 

That’s sound advice, except for one notion.  What jobs do most students’ fields of study actually lead to? 

I understand where accounting majors and pre-med students go, but what about psychology, management, or marketing majors (I’m sure I can get a thousand options for careers in those “fields”)? In the grand scheme of things, college disciplines are set up to lead students to one primary job – professor in that “field of study.”   

In order to maximize desired enrollment, most schools’ missions focus on being everything to everyone – which ironically is a surefire recipe for mediocrity.  If colleges really want to align disciplines with the job market, we’d need to see much more curricular dynamism than most are prepared to undergo. 

This point is not intended to stop students from going to college; I just want more of them to understand (the good and bad) realities of their chosen majors.  

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