Is There Any Value to Going to College if I Haven’t Chosen a Career?

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Even if one hasn’t chosen a career yet, going to college can still be a valuable experience to consider. The truth is that 20 to 50 percent of those starting college programs don’t have a clue what type of major they wish to declare. Not to mention, that with literally hundreds of majors to choose from, even students who enter college with a pre-declared major end up graduating with degrees in completely different fields than initially anticipated. So, what exactly makes a college experience worth the time and money?

The Educational Process: Not Just in the Classroom

For most students, the process of higher education becomes as much of a learning experience about the world, how to communicate ideas with others, develop leadership skills and find one’s social bearings as it is about earning a degree in a specific field. While these experiences can happen within the classroom setting, they often happen without.

Many a college grad can tell a tale or two about learning how to live with roommates, clubs or athletics teams that developed their interests and work ethics, and networking opportunities that presented themselves through school-sponsored activities or study group interactions. These experiences may not be able to be measured monetarily, yet all are worthwhile in teaching young adults how to navigate the world around them and transfer valuable social and communication skills to future colleague interactions in workplace settings.

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Decisions, Decisions: Narrowing the Field

While there may be a certain comfort in knowing what one’s major is, the flip side says that there’s much more excitement in exploring one’s options. The probability exists for students going to college that there are far more choices available to them for 21st-careers than they ever imagined. Undeclared majors have the opportunity to test the waters and find out what truly inspires them. Whether collaborating with program counselors, discussing educational pursuits with fellow students, participating in various activities, volunteering in the community, or talking to faculty in various departments, students can discover inspiration for determining career choices that can become lifelong vocations. Try some of these unusual but very real majors on for size:

-Theme Park Engineering
-Adventure Education
-Bakery Science
-Comic Art
-Diving Business and Technology
-Mortuary Science
-Popular Culture
-Turfgrass Science

Degree Outcome: Rewards and Benefits

Potential college students should also consider that figuring out a major and eventually earning a  college degree will pay off over their lifetime. Numerous studies done by agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics repeatedly demonstrate that college degree holders earn far more over their lifetime than non-degree peers leading to an overall higher standard of living with tangible financial benefits. Additionally, college graduates are more likely to access healthier lifestyles, develop appreciation for multicultural viewpoints, give back to their communities and improve the quality of life for themselves and their future families.

Not having a major before entering college should not be considered a stumbling block. The college experience itself is worth the time and effort to explore one’s interests and narrow down choices towards degrees that can open doors to astounding futures. In this regard, going to college can be a wise choice for all to consider.