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Old 01-06-2008, 12:12 PM
8,240 posts, read 14,257,231 times
Reputation: 3635


Originally Posted by Liberty53000 View Post
I was actually thinking about majoring in fine/studio arts, I have my heart set on being a starving artist! Just kidding! But I do love art.
I've been thinking that maybe a good way to apply my artistic side would be to major in architecture or graphic design maybe.
I would advise you to follow your passion...life is too short to do something that sounds good on paper, or is strategic, if your heart isn't into it. It's amazing that when you do something you love you usually become economically successful.
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:27 PM
Location: Santa Barbara
1,474 posts, read 2,475,044 times
Reputation: 937
Originally Posted by Liberty53000 View Post
Does the major you choose in college really affect the types of jobs you get?
Originally Posted by Liberty53000 View Post
And I mean other than being a doctor, lawyer, or big business person (with those obviously you'd have to be pre-med, pre-law, business/accounting, etc.).

Actually, to get into med school you do not need to be a specific major, just take the college courses med schools require. One of the years (8 total) I was advising pre-med students (I was the Biology advisor) one of the top majors accepted into med schools were Religious Studies majors. All meds schools look for are the course requirements (can be taken in addition to major coursework), good MCAT scores, extra curricular activites, large workload, and great letters of rec.

Same with law school. From what I have heard they love math majors but you can be any major as long as you take specific courses, do well on the LSAT, and other stuff.

What we used to advise students was to choose your passion as your undergrad degree and if you don't know what that is yet, take a wide breadth of GE courses. It was important to identify as pre-med though early so you can make sure and get the courses done they require.

If you are interested, the courses are yr of gen chem, yr of gen bio, yr of organic chem, yr of physics, yr of math, and stats. Some required a course in cell bio, biochem, intro to physiology.

I mean, that if you major in anthropology, does that mean it would be difficult to find a job outside of that field of study?

No. Well, no harder than it is for anyone to find a good, well paying job.

A friend of mine who graduated with a masters in English said that he went straight out of college to a computers/technology job. He said that many jobs/employers don't really care about your major, & that what they really care about is the fact that you took your education further than high school, which shows that you're willing to learn more and work hard.


I just want to know if employers really look at a persons major as a deciding factor as to whether or not to hire them.


So do college majors really matter?
in reality, no. Did you enjoy your studies? Did you do well? Do you have strong letters of rec? Did you do research or other extra school stuff?

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Old 01-06-2008, 09:44 PM
3 posts, read 4,999 times
Reputation: 13
Here is my experience with a bad major (Exercise Science):

My adviser told me I needed to go to the career placement office since graduation was in a few months away. When I mentioned my major at the
placement office they said that they have no employers looking for that degree and apologized. I then started my job search on my on and landed
several interviews. No one wanted to pay over minimum wage in my field (sports medicine, corporate wellness, cardiac rehab etc). My cousin was
working in the Computer Networking field and suggested I read up on that and do some self study. Before I ventured in that direction I looked at jobs
adds in that field. It seem every position even entry level required several certifications and years of experience?? I was scared to chance spending
$10,000 on a certification and be right back where I was to start.

Since then (1997) I have worked for extremely low pay ($8.00-$10.00 hr). Most of the work was in factories because they were the only place I could
get hired. I finally got an office job using a program similar to AutoCAD that I thought it would develop into something better. It started out at $8.00
hr (gulp). After a year I got a top secret clearance and moved into the secured area for $8.50 hr?? I lasted there one more year before I couldn't
take it any longer. I left that job which was an hour away for a job thirty minutes away for a whopping $9.00 hr WOW!! Two months ago my
employer said things were slow and there would be no work until after the first of the year. Now I'm still unemployed.

So from my experience an exercise science degree will definitely shut almost every door you try to open and leave you in poverty. I would be better to have never went to college. At least then I could get grants.

Now after all these years I'm trying to get plans together to go back to school and get an engineering degree. Its something else that I have
always been interested in. The only thing is now I'm married and I need to work, so its going to take me like 8-10 years to get through it. Thats 8-10
more years at $8.00-$10.00 hr. Sigh...

So from my experience the degree seems to matter. It is true that a person needs to do what they love, but you have to eat to. If I was just getting out of high school today, I would first look at the high growth jobs for the next decade. Next I would try to pick something from those that interested me. If there was nothing then go down the list to jobs with medium growth jobs etc. It will help to actually have people wanting your degree when graduation nears.

I'm glad some of the people here got jobs right out of school unrelated to there degree. I guess you can really sale yourselves. Maybe I have always
done something wrong. I'm pretty smart, speak well, and everyone seems to like me. Maybe theres something weird about me interviews don't like.
Beats me. I sure wish I knew where jobs that required any degree, no experience, and paid enough to take care of a family were.

Oh and whatever degree you choose, do the research on your own about the jobs available. Teachers want more students in there department and will lie about the degree to keep you there. My professors made it sound like employers would be come from every where to hire us. I had all A's and one B in my major. I was one of two that got the right certs the professor said we needed and it was still a no go.

Well, off to more job searching.
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:48 PM
955 posts, read 1,848,775 times
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Originally Posted by Liberty53000 View Post
I was actually thinking about majoring in fine/studio arts, I have my heart set on being a starving artist! Just kidding! But I do love art.
I've been thinking that maybe a good way to apply my artistic side would be to major in architecture or graphic design maybe.
Those are really two fields with radically different skillsets. Architecture requires a great deal of technical expertise besides the artistic side. We're talking about a lot of math (I mean calculus stuff and not algebra) and engineering (like strength of materials, mechanical vibrations, etc.). So just be aware of that. I know that where I went to school, architecture took another year to get the degree and was extremely difficult.

One thing to be aware of with graphic design is that more and more people are doing things themselves that used to be handed off to a graphic designer. I remember having this huge graphic design area where we would have them make presentations, signs, flyers, slides, etc. Now people can do it themselves with PowerPoint, Publisher, etc., etc. Just be aware.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:56 PM
3,853 posts, read 10,979,205 times
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yes it matters. If you were an employer and wanted someone for a art museum tour guide who would you want? the person who studied liberal arts or art history?
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:10 PM
20 posts, read 120,896 times
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I think it depends on your profession. I work for IBM and I know for a fact several managers have degrees in things like Fine Arts, Art History, Psychology, or similar. Granted, you probably wouldn't get a job straight out of college at IBM with a Fine Arts degree, but once you get some experience under your belt... I don't think your major really matters. That's just my experience.

Moderator cut: link, signature

Last edited by Beretta; 05-02-2008 at 04:07 PM.. Reason: signatures and links not allowed
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:40 PM
Location: #
9,605 posts, read 13,620,240 times
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If you are not a science or pre-law major I'd say no since the majority of entry-level jobs today really only require a high school diploma.
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:16 AM
3,688 posts, read 9,479,361 times
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Wow. Not true. If you define "entry-level" jobs as "fry cook, cashier, or floor sweeper" then maybe. If you define it as "marketing intern, accounting temp, management intern, etc.." then specialized knowledge (and a degree!) will help a lot.

The days of "I was an english major who got hired to do computers for $50K a year right out of school" were the days of the dot com bubble (1996-1999). I had a lot of friends with liberal arts degrees who walked out of college an into computer or business jobs that they really hadn't trained for. But there was such a demand for college graduates, that they were willing to bring them on board and train them in the field - and pay them a good salary while doing it.

If you survived in that field after the dot come bust, your degree did become meaningless, because now you had 5 years in the field of practical experience, plus corporate experience, and when you applied for another job in the field you could "spin" your degree.

However, now, with the employement picture much tighter (since 2000) - the degree does matter. My husband got a journalism degree. He decided he no longer wanted to pursue journalism. He applied for technical writing, graphic design (he had some experience talent), and page layout jobs .. never heard back. This was just after the dot com bust -- and they could hire people with many years of experience for nothing, so why would an employer hire someone with no experience and the wrong degree?

Get a degree that has many job categories linked to it. Or double major. Or take a good minor. But don't think you can be a medieval literature major because you like it and then waltz in Microsoft and get a job as a project manager making $80K a year. It is unlikely at best.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:47 AM
Location: Blackwater Park
1,715 posts, read 6,086,010 times
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Originally Posted by r1013 View Post
Here is my experience with a bad major (Exercise Science):
Would you have any interest in taking some extra classes to get licensed to teach health or physical education? A lot of the classes are the same, so you may only need something like 30 credits. Just a thought...
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:28 PM
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,906 posts, read 5,913,743 times
Reputation: 2591
What a depressing thread. I have a daughter entering college next year, and this is a subject we talk about a lot.

For Exercise Science, ironically, I have a niece who is graduating with a degree in that this year....doesn't seem like a good major. She was a gymnast, so this seemed like a good field for her. But.....she has already figured out that there are no good jobs in her field, so she is planning on graduate school in an unrelated major.....sad, but true.

Majors make a big difference, for the most part. Part of my work involves Human Resources, and I know that there are jobs out there that only require a college degree. Unfortunately, they may be totally unrelated to your interests (art, English, PE, whatever).

My suggestion, especially with today's economy, is to go for a government job. Even the government will be making cuts, but you could get a decent job with a local government agency, be it Federal, State, County or City. Check out the websites for those agencies and see what jobs are posted. Usually job availability is posted every week or every two weeks. They also give you the salary ranges.

Of course, as usual, the highest paid jobs with an undergraduate degree will be in fields where there is significant training and study: science, computers, engineering, business.

Being bilingual is also helpful -- in our agency we pay extra per year to employees who are bilingual.

I agree with the poster who recommended checking out where the higher growth jobs will be -- that is a good way to start. If someone is merely interested in Art or English or Drama or Sociology or some degree like that, one will almost automatically be pigeon-holing themselves into a poorly paid position, or none at all. Unfortunately, as has already been stated, school counselors will minimize the risk by saying if you get a degree in English, you could be an Editor! Those are not common jobs. An English degree could get you a decent job as a secretary, but you wouldn't even need a degree to get that job, to begin with.

I am hoping that my daughter's degree in International Business will garner her a decent job after graduation. It's a nerve-wracking venture. If someone comes from money, then it won't matter what degree they have. Or sometimes for an already established position, a degree (in anything) is necessary to promote -- in those cases, it doesn't matter what you major in.

I am always surprised when I hear parents discussing their children majoring in the liberal arts with expectations that just a degree alone will garner a job.

If you already have a degree but not a decent job, look into the government jobs (don't let the job descriptions off-put you because often they are not what they really are), or go and get a graduate degree in something more useful, such as Accounting, Management Information Systems, or something that there are jobs in. I know of people who have "liberal arts" degrees who are Probation Officers, or Prison Guards, Accounting Clerks, or other clerical government workers; or taxi drivers, secretaries, typists, waiters/waitresses, warehouse workers or group home counselors (a really tough job). I also know of Attorneys who "brag" about their legal secretaries who have higher degrees (in liberal arts).

We chose International Business for my daughter after a friend of ours who owns a computer company told us that Computer Science degrees are not that useful (contrary to what we thought), and that a business degree would open more doors -- that business skills are transferrable throughout the world. Thus, the language minor (shes loves learning foreign languages) and business major (she loves math, too). We are grateful that we had clear advice from someone who works internationally, and, hopefully, my daughter will have a better chance at a decent job with a B.S. in Business Management (International Business). (Fingers crossed! )

For the OP, if you really love art, that's great -- just don't expect a "real" job in Art -- unless you have super connections. If you come from a wealthy family and your family will continue to support you, then I'd go for what you love. But if you will need to work, better to keep art as your hobby and find a major that is still interesting but also could lead to jobs.

Good luck!
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