Helping Teens Choose a College Major

Homeschool high schoolers, like any teen, have lots of pressure to be ready for the future, so here are tips for helping teens choose a college major.

Helping Teens Choose a College Major

Helping Teens Choose a College Major

Not all homeschool high schoolers need to go to college. However for those who are college bound, the choice of college major is a serious decision.

The US Department of Education reports that thirty percent of students in undergraduate college programs change their majors at least once. I can attest to that, when I was young, I changed my college major four times!

While changing a college major is not the end of the world, it can be an expensive decision- both in time and for finances.

When college students change majors, they often need to spend extra semester(s) in school in order to complete all the required courses in the new field.

I want to point out that changing majors is not the end of the world. Often, when a young person changes majors, there is a compelling reason. For instance:

  • They might have learned something new about themselves (a new interest or need)
  • Or they might have learned about a field of study that they had not known back in high school
  • Perhaps they found out that the job market for their original major choice had crashed. Therefore it is financially prudent to choose a new major.
  • Or maybe along their college journey, they felt a calling by God into some form of service or ministry

We cannot be prepared for everything or predict the future. However, we can help our homeschool high schoolers prepare to choose well when deciding on a college major.

Here are some ways to help your homeschool high schoolers make a college major choice

There are three important facets to choosing a college major:

  • Experiences
  • Discussions
  • Prayer

Let’s break this down into some practical steps

Here are some steps that we 7Sisters have found useful for helping our college-bound teens clarify their decisions about field of study.

It is wise to take time to think through and explore different college majors.

Interview several people in different careers and perhaps a few college students, too

Even if your teen doesn’t have a clue about what they may be interested in, interview several different people. Recent college graduates can give some real advice and expertise about their career opportunities.

Create a list of anything useful you learned.

Take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test and/or other personality tests

Read together the report about that personality. Discuss what they suggest for careers fit well with your teen’s personality type. Here is a freebie list links to personality tests (that are free or low-cost). 

Take the Interest Assessment at MyNextMove.org

This is a wonderful, free resource from the US Department of Labor. What careers does it suggest fit well with your homeschool high schooler’s interests?

Complete 7Sisters’ Career Exploration text

Career Exploration Textbook 7SistersHomeschool
Click image for full description.

I cannot recommend enough having your teen completing a Career Exploration course. Of course, I am a fan our our 7Sisters Career Exploration textbook. That is because I developed it specifically for our homeschooling teens based on my training as a counselor (and as a homeschool mom, of course).

The text will guide your teens through the following steps.

According to what you found in the Career Exploration text, create a list of your strengths, gifts or talents…and weaknesses

This is so important.

Let me give you an example. I have always had a wish to be an entrepreneur. Therefore, my first college major was business. However, I found that I was absolutely NOT gifted in finances, bookkeeping or accounting- all necessary for the major (and if I was going to be a solopreneur).

I eventually found that I had a calling as a counselor and have had a decades-long career in a field that I love. God also blessed me with the opportunity to use my homeschooling expertise and experience as an part of an entrepreneurial team along with my 7Sisters. Being part of the team means, I get to do the parts I love while my sisters Sara, Marilyn and Kym take care of the finances! (Everything in God’s time.)

Your homeschool high schooler has strengths, gifts, talents AND weaknesses. It is a good idea to clarify these!

According to your work in the Career Exploration text, what are your career values?

Career values are a list of things that are meaningful and/or important to your teens’ wellbeing or happiness. A couple of examples would be:

Do you prefer:

  • A career with lots of variety in hours, locations and people?
  • Or a career with stable, nine-to-five-type hours?

Which kind of lifestyles do you need? What describes you best?

  • I can live on practically nothing if I am doing a career I love.
  • It is important to me to be able to support a family comfortably.
  • I need lots of things, a fancy car and big home.

What have you learned about yourself from your experiences in life?

Everyone has had lots of life experiences by the time they are in high school. Therefore, teens do know a few things about themselves. Their experiences will have taught them something, such as:

  • Did you find that you hate (or love) babysitting?
  • Do you love the volunteer work you have done?
  • Did you find that you love organizing things or talking to people?

Discuss this part of the course with your homeschool high schooler.

Go to Career One Stop

This is another wonderful, free tool from the US Department of Labor. With your teen, look up as several careers that are catching their interests.

  • Read about:
    • Job market outlook
    • Salary ranges
  • Read descriptions and watch videos for
    • Necessary education level
    • Job descriptions

Look at a few local and regional college websites

Look at local state, Christian and private colleges.

Discuss with your teen:

  • Which colleges have majors that train students for careers you are interested in?
  • What is the difference between their programs, along with which types of degrees do they offer?
  • How much does each college cost (along with room and board)? (Along with what percentage of students are receiving financial aid? Also, what is their graduation rate?)

When you are ready for some serious college searching, take a look at this post.

Pray

While teens usually do not have a “voice of God moment” about college major choice, prayer helps keep them open to the leading of God. (7Sisters Career Exploration text has a light hearted discussion about ways to understand God’s will.)

With this information, what college majors makes sense and feel right to your homeschool high schooler?

Your teen should be able to narrow their choices to one or two majors. Remember this is a journey. All they need to do is be on the journey. God will direct their paths.

Download 7Sisters Career Exploration text and enjoy the college-major choice process.

 

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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