Some students have known since kindergarten what they want to do when they grow up. Others aren’t sure, even with high school graduation right around the corner.
No matter which group your child belongs to, don't worry. There's plenty of time for them to decide on a college major and career path. They'll probably even change their mind a few times—and that's OK.
The following tips can help you get your child thinking about what majors and careers may be a good fit for them.
Identify Interests and Possible Career Paths
The first step in helping your child choose a career path is to talk to them. No matter how well you know your child, some of their interests may surprise you.
- Ask about their interests. It may be no secret that your child loves animals, but did you know they’re also fascinated by bridges? Or maybe they dream of conducting an orchestra. If you want your child to have a career they enjoy, it’s important to learn what they like to do.
- Make a list. Have your child make a list of the activities they enjoy, as well as areas they’re interested in exploring.
Your child can further explore possible career paths by taking a career interest quiz on Career Search on BigFuture. This set of resources helps students explore over 1,000 careers based on their interest, skills, and localized labor marketing information. Getting your child to articulate and identify their interests is a good way for them to begin thinking about their career path and what educational opportunities will help them get there.
Match Interests and Careers to Majors
Once your child has identified their interests and career options, you can find college majors that are related. Make these connections by learning more about majors on BigFuture.
You and your child may also want to discuss which high school courses they enjoy, and which ones they should take to further align on their major(s) of interest. If your child is taking an AP course they really enjoy, we recommend looking at the AP Students website to see which majors and careers are connected to each AP course.
Should I be worried that my child doesn't know what they want to major in?
No. Most students don’t know what they want to major in when they start college, and others change their mind at least once. At most colleges, students don’t have to choose a major until the end of their sophomore year.
That said, choosing a major earlier rather than later can help students graduate in four years, because they'll have more time to take the required courses—and that'll save them (and you) the cost of a fifth year of college.
Who should my child go to with questions about careers?
Your child's school counselor is a great person to ask about careers, applying to college, financial aid, and more. If you know someone in a career your child might be interested in, see if they’d be willing to tell your child what it's like working in that field.