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Steph
05-29-2013, 03:09 PM
My oldest ds will graduate next year. As of now, he has no idea what he wants to do. He wants to go to college...probably starting at our local comm. college or trying CollegePlus.

How have you helped your children decide on a college major or just what they want to do with their lives? Caleb knows pretty much what he's good at and what he likes in a job but translating that into a college major is proving to be quite difficult.

He's looking at civil engineering, geography, drafting, surveying, ciity/urban planning. But nothing is really sticking. He's a hard worker, isn't afraid of maual labor, excellent writer and researcher, loves maps and is good at technical drawing.

Are there any online sources, books, etc. that would help direct him?

Jodi B
05-29-2013, 03:48 PM
Has he spoken with a counselor at the college? That might be a place to start to get some direction. :unsure:

Alicia
05-29-2013, 03:54 PM
We have two high school and college graduates. One majored in Communications, as he was strong in English and writing. He then went on to law school and graduated with a law degree. He chose what to major in after graduating from high school, then decided to go to law school after two years of college. My ds#2 liked various occupations, but decided on Psychology when he was in college. He is now in seminary to become a pastor. Neither one knew what he wanted to major in until college. My ds#3, however, wants to go to the Naval Academy, but he has not decided on his major.

We discussed their strong points together as a family and prayed about it, but their choices of majors was up to them. Many, if not most high school graduates don't choose a major until college.

Laura JL
05-29-2013, 04:46 PM
Our oldest thought he had it all figured out (and all of his high school teachers and guidance counselor thought he was on the right track) until after his first year of college and then he changed his major two times :)

For dd this year we've worked through the College and Career Planning program that SL sells. Then when she narrowed down areas she was interested in we began looking at colleges to look at course-work required, etc. She is doing some job shadowing to see if those areas are really what she thinks she'd like, etc. I still fully expect her to change her mind once she makes up her mind :lol:

When we went to college orientation for ds they told us that something like 75% of entering freshman will change their major by the end of their sophomore year.

Steph
05-29-2013, 10:00 PM
Thanks ladies. I guess I'm worrying about this too much. It seems like I always just "knew" what I wanted to do. It wasn't hard for me to figure out.
Thanks Laura for the book suggestion from SL. I'll see if he'd like it.

Rebe
05-29-2013, 11:19 PM
I think it's very common (almost expected) for freshmen not to know what they're majoring in, or to change their major at least once. I changed 3 times. My dh changed at least twice.

If your ds takes courses in those fields, something is likely to strike him as THE thing. Or he may find a mentor who inspires him. Or he may meet someone who's actually doing the job who inspires him (that's one thing you could do -- have him job shadow some of those jobs).

I am slowly learning that this is not my decision and that I need to facilitate things a bit, but that's all I can do. I leave it up to my dc and God to work it out. This goes against my grain to not have control, but you know, it's not my life, it's his. I had no help at all with anything at 17, so I have to pull back from totally going the other direction and "supporting" my dc too much! I need to make sure they have autonomy and the time and space to make their own decisions, including the ones that are mistakes.

But enough about me. :lol: I hope that helps, though.

BTW, I found a series of military history lectures online that you may already know about ... but if you want the info, send me an email!

Susan Seaman
05-30-2013, 02:17 PM
My daughter started college as an English/Fine Arts (Photography) double major. But she is getting prerequisites for physical therapy school. She has now dropped the double major and is just an English major - but she is still getting the prerequisites for PT. Personally, I see her much more as a teacher, but when I mention that she says she just plans to homeschool her bajillion kids some day. She doesn't want to study it as a major.

We spend a lot of time discussing potential careers with all our kids, but it's hard to know what will stick. My sons all have plans right now, but I expect them to change several times.

I remember not knowing what to major in. My parents steered me towards chemical engineering. I chose it and stuck with it, but it was mostly about the "challenge" and the money. I actually enjoyed my engineering career alright, but the classes were a real pain. If I had it to do over, I would have majored in literature, history or music. I definitely did not follow my passion in college. But it turned out OK for me - turns out my real passion was being a Mom and teaching, so I got to pursue it after all.

Steph
05-30-2013, 03:14 PM
[QUOTE=Rebe;1134818]

I am slowly learning that this is not my decision and that I need to facilitate things a bit, but that's all I can do. I leave it up to my dc and God to work it out. This goes against my grain to not have control, but you know, it's not my life, it's his. I had no help at all with anything at 17, so I have to pull back from totally going the other direction and "supporting" my dc too much! I need to make sure they have autonomy and the time and space to make their own decisions, including the ones that are mistakes.

Rebe, this is just it....I didn't have any help with any of this either and in my quest to give Caleb the help I didn't have, I've taken too much responsibility....responsibility that rightfully belongs to him.

He is looking into a job shadow so maybe that will help him make some decisions.

I miss the preschool days, when he just did what I said. Boy it's hard to let go!!

- - - Updated - - -

[QUOTE=Rebe;1134818]

I am slowly learning that this is not my decision and that I need to facilitate things a bit, but that's all I can do. I leave it up to my dc and God to work it out. This goes against my grain to not have control, but you know, it's not my life, it's his. I had no help at all with anything at 17, so I have to pull back from totally going the other direction and "supporting" my dc too much! I need to make sure they have autonomy and the time and space to make their own decisions, including the ones that are mistakes.

Rebe, this is just it....I didn't have any help with any of this either and in my quest to give Caleb the help I didn't have, I've taken too much responsibility....responsibility that rightfully belongs to him.

He is looking into a job shadow so maybe that will help him make some decisions.

I miss the preschool days, when he just did what I said. Boy it's hard to let go!!

Donna in MO
06-22-2013, 10:59 AM
How have you helped your children decide on a college major or just what they want to do with their lives? Caleb knows pretty much what he's good at and what he likes in a job but translating that into a college major is proving to be quite difficult.

He's looking at civil engineering, geography, drafting, surveying, ciity/urban planning. But nothing is really sticking. He's a hard worker, isn't afraid of maual labor, excellent writer and researcher, loves maps and is good at technical drawing.

Are there any online sources, books, etc. that would help direct him?

My dd who's graduating next year FINALLY made a decision yesterday. Here's the process we took to get there:

She's been asking all these questions for some time now: Should I go to college or not? CC or 4-year university? Private or public? Which major? What will I *do* with that major? Besides getting married and starting a family, if that doesn't happen as soon as I want it to, what else would I like to be doing in 5 years? There are so many things I like to do, and can do, but how do I pick ONE to focus on? College is EXPENSIVE... I'm not going to spend all that time and money for something I end up hating, or not doing anything with. I'm not anti-college, but I'm not going to go just because I'm "supposed" to either, and then waste time and money trying to figure it out as I go along. Should I just get a job and not worry about college for now?

She also read What Color is Your Parachute for Teens and went to the website they recommend to take a skills and personality test. The results didn't really give us any surprises. :happyno:

In the meantime, we made her go ahead and take the ACT just to have it. She can re-take it later to try for a better score, or not. But we wanted her to take it just in case and have that done. She got a good score. :) (At one point she didn't want to take either the SAT or ACT, but we pulled the parent card on that one. Sometimes you just have to.)

Last week I told her that she needs to make a decision re: college SOON, or else I'm going to make one for her and just sign her up. LOL. I wouldn't really do that, of course, but she acknowledged I was right. She needs to stop procrastinating making a decision because of fear of making the wrong one. Actually, she HAD made one decision a month or so ago.... which was not to go straight into a 4-year uni and commit to something that long term. Especially since she's not certain that she wants something *requiring* a 4-year degree. She would go to CC first, and then transfer later if she wants to.

Since we live near the state border, we've visited two different community colleges, one on each side of the state line. Between those two, she prefers the one closest to our house. (Yay! It's also cheaper since it's in-district. ;) )

So yesterday I pulled up the CC website and went to the page listing all their degree options. I went down the list and opened a new window for each one that I thought my dd *might* be interested in based on what I know about her: her personality, talents, skills, preferences, the subjects she's been most interested in throughout high school, her outside activities and interests..... I think I had about 15 tabs open. (I knew she'd eliminate some of those pretty quickly, so wasn't worry about it being "too many choices" right then.)

Then I took the laptop to her and told her to stop what she was doing for a few minutes and do this. I told her to read the "Overview" page for each of the tabs she had open. I told her not to think about it too hard, and don't click on any other links. Just read the overview page, and then based on FIRST impression, she could close the tab if it was completely uninteresting to her, or keep it open if it was something she COULD consider further. Then I left the room.

When she finished, I was surprised to see that she still had as many tabs open as she did.... and was even more surprised at what some of them were!

Then I told her, "Okay, now go back to each of those tabs and click on the "Course Descriptions" tab.... but JUST the ones that only have one option. Some of them have two or more options (like nursing), so ignore those for now. But on the others, read through the course listing to see what kind of classes will be required. If it sounds good overall, even if there's a handful of classes you won't like, leave it open. But if the whole thing just looks :p to you, then close the tab."

So she did that... eliminated a couple more.

Then I had her go back and do the same thing with the tabs that had more than one option. She eliminated a couple more.

Somewhere in there, she eliminated a couple programs that I was surprised she would eliminate, like Art. Based on her "preferred activity for free time" and her outgoing, creative, chatty personality, that's where she's been leaning the most, but couldn't figure out exactly HOW she would want to use that in a college degree program and following. What she had left open at this point were Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapy Assistant, and a Business Admin one-year Certificate. (She has a particular long term goal that she feels some formal administrative training would help her with.)

So then we talked about those four options and why she chose them. As we talked, she ruled out Nursing because of the way the current medical industry and insurance issues in politics are going, and also because of ethics issues. There are certain things she simply *cannot* do , that she'd lose her job over if she refused. Plus, we've been hearing about an awful lot of layoffs from hospitals in our area lately. And of those who are still employed, it seems they're getting fewer and fewer choices in work hours, benefits, and assignments because of hospitals clamping down, getting rid of many, and putting more pressure on those they keep.

That left OTA, PTA, and Business Admin. We talked about those. Any of the three would get her some training and get her working fairly quickly, so.... which one? I pointed out that we can't get financial aid for just a certificate program, and it's only a one-year program anyway... Given what she wants that training for, I suggested she go back and do that later if she wants to, after she's working and earning money of her own. (It's for a very long term goal, anyway... not something she needs right away.) That left her with OTA and PTA.

At this point I printed out the Course Requirements so that she could peruse them on paper and think about them some more as the day went on.

In the end, she chose OTA because it's more hands-on, more helpful to life skills overall, requires less long term training if she should decide to become a fully qualified OT later on, and seems to be a bit less competitive to get into. It's also more "artsy" than PT. IOW, she can use many of the things she loves to do in daily life as tools to help other people -- cooking, sewing, arts and crafts, drawing, flower arranging, playing educational games, etc. She can do this in a formal setting such as hospital or private clinic, or she can do it with individuals as a ministry, or she can offer her services to homeschoolers in a co-op setting, or teach sessions at a homeschool convention to help moms be able to help their own kids at home. Bingo! This fits right in with her long range dream of eventually opening a L'Abri type of "home" or resort for girls!

So that's the process we took in deciding, and my dd is now excited, focused, and anxious to get going, rather than uncertain and afraid to make a decision because it might be the wrong one, or because she felt pressured into it. It might not work for you, and it wasn't even something we "planned", exactly. But prayer kept us going, and looking back over the past several months, I can see how the Lord led us to each of the steps I've posted here. :)

Steph
06-22-2013, 12:53 PM
Donna, that was soooo helpful to me. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to explain your process so clearly. This is something that I know my husband and I could do to help Caleb through this decision making process. Thank you so much!!

Rebe
06-22-2013, 03:40 PM
Wow, Donna! Thanks so much! I love seeing that all written out. It sounds like a great choice for your dd and I love the way you helped her through it without telling her what to do or letting her be indecisive. Way to go. :clap:

Leslie Nelsen
06-23-2013, 11:45 PM
Donna - another thank you! My oldest dd is also struggling with some of the same questions and this was very helpful! I'm going to show it to her tomorrow.

One other option to consider if college is the choice is seeing if the college has a program that helps choose a major. My oldest entered this program (called First Year College at his school) as a Biology major. In this program, you are able to select a couple of majors that you might be interested in pursuing and you will be taking classes to keep you on track for those majors so that you don't lose time in making a decision.

He also had extensive time with an academic advisor, had a class that went along with this program and outside activities all designed in helping him to choose a major. He ended up deciding to major in Communications and loves it! Its not something I would have even known to advice or have him consider.

Just wanted to share in case this might be an option to consider. :)

Donna in MO
06-24-2013, 09:14 AM
He's looking at civil engineering, geography, drafting, surveying, ciity/urban planning. But nothing is really sticking. He's a hard worker, isn't afraid of maual labor, excellent writer and researcher, loves maps and is good at technical drawing.


Looking at his skills and interests here, one would automatically assume that he should go into civil engineering. That's the most *obvious* choice because engineering is such a large field today, and one that many people talk about. (At least here in our area.) Kayla was just saying that if you don't go for one of the *obvious* choices like engineering or nursing, then what DO you do? How do you choose? We often don't think of all those other jobs that people do in order to keep the world moving. Sure, we all know about OTs and PTs and STs, but we didn't realize until we started reading the overviews of all those different degree programs -- picked randomly by going down a list based on Kayla's various interests and talents -- that one could be an OTA and be working in the field fairly quickly, and then go back and do more later if she wants to at that point. One doesn't HAVE to commit to a full 4-year (or longer) program right off the bat if they aren't sure, but one could certainly pick a *related* program that takes less time (and money), that would leave the door open for them to transfer later. (You mentioned geography... that's one of the tabs we had open that Kayla briefly considered because she LOVES geography and mapwork!)

It was suggested to me that when Kayla enrolls at CC for the COTA program, that she should choose classes wherever possible that would apply to BOTH the Associates and Bachelors degree, just in case she decides to become a full OT later on. (If such classes are available, of course.) That way, she wouldn't have to spend more time and money re-taking those same, but more in-depth classes later on, at a much higher tuition rate, for a Bachelors.

Your son may end up loving something that isn't "obvious" by the skills you've listed, i.e., a degree in Civil Engineering or Geography, but which do in fact USE those skills. For example, looking at our CC's degree programs, some others to take a look at might be:

Architectural Engineering Technology
Industrial Technology
Computer Aided Drafting
Drafting
Geographic Information Systems
Political Science (I'm thinking the field of geopolitics here)

And more, but you get the idea. My dd realized that her love of both art, and the domestic arts, wasn't something she wanted to do as a "job", necessarily (though she did consider Floristry, Art Education, Interior Design, Cake Decorating/baking cakes for special occasions, and others along those lines), but just wanted to enjoy those in her free time. Or maybe open up an etsy shop at some point (along with a gazillion other homeschoolers! LOL) In the end, though, she realized that as an OTA, she could USE her love of art as one of her therapy tools, and be ministering to and helping people at the same time. :yes: Helping people was the real reason she was drawn to nursing for a long time, too, but there's getting to be so much red tape involved in nursing (as well as ethics and moral issues) that she doesn't think she would be able to enjoy actually doing it as a job.

Anyway, just thought I'd share some more of our thought and discussion processes along the way. :)

See what I mean? Gotta' think outside the box! :D

Susan Seaman
06-24-2013, 09:58 AM
FYI - Anybody who has a student they think may be headed towards engineering - consider Material Science (http://www.strangematterexhibit.com/whatis.html#whoare). I just took a week-long class in materials scientists taught for high school science teachers (I took it as a homeschool teacher and one who teaches chemistry and physical science at co-op). I had never really considered this field - in spite of the fact that I majored in chemical engineering which is probably its closest cousin. It is a very exciting field and one I probably would have enjoyed much more than chemical engineering or any other engineering discipline. The class was awesome! I love it that the science is all about objects that you can see and handle.

Steph
06-24-2013, 03:49 PM
Well thankfully, we have managed to eliminate some majors that are interests of his but that he doesn't really want to do for a job. He loves astronomy and has studied that for a long time, but has said he'd like to keep that for a hobby. He also has loved ancient history since he was a little boy. He thought about that but didn't know what he would actually "do" with a degree in ancient history. He would really like to take online classes for his Bachelor's or at least part of it but that's nearly impossible with engineering. We're going to open some tabs like Donna suggested in her first post and see where that leads him.

Just a funny little story leading up to thinking about civil engineering and geography......When Caleb was about ages 6-9, he created what he called a village. He choose a place he thought would be good building ground, decided on a water source, where to build the town essentials, where to build homes, etc. At the time we were having a Bible study at our house. Well, he made everyone in the group chose a job to do in his village, then he assigned phone numbers to everyone. He did several maps of the village and mapped out the best places for everything to be located. He spent so many hours on that village and was the only thing he talked about for those years. I kept all of his papers and put them in a binder. I still have it to give to him someday. Oh and the really neat part....all of this came about after a FIAR lesson where we used masking tape to map our neighborhood on the floor, but I can't for the life of me remember what book it was.