Steps to Helping your Teen Pick a College Major

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Picking a college major is one of the biggest decisions after deciding to go to college that a teen has to make. You can help your teen make their decision with as little stress as possible using these four steps:

Step #1: Don't get alarmed if your teen isn't sure about what they want to do. It is an awfully tall order. It takes some time and a lot of thought. Know that your teen should actively start looking into a major as soon as they have decided to go to a college, but can wait until sophomore year of college to make a final decision.

So, there is time.

More: How To Talk to Your Teen About a Future Career

Step #2: Get ideas of which field of study that has caught your teen's interest. What classes did your teen talk most about? What activities with clubs did your teen enjoy? In what courses did your teen do well with their grades?

You can let the power of the internet help here too. Have your teen take a interest assessment test. There is one free given at the University of Arizona.

Step #3: Look at what careers are available in that field of study. Specific research is needed to find what jobs are available. This step is often missed by parents and students - or it is seen as something to do at the end of schooling. I tend to differ with this opinion. Having a specific goal helps someone do what needs to be done to obtain it.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook put out by the Department of Labor gives you what schooling is needed for a specific career, how much income you can earn and other important information about almost every career out there today.

It's a wonderful free online resource.

Step #4: See what it takes to get your teen to where he wants to be. Here is where having some college catalogs will help. Find out which colleges have the majors your teen is interested in looking into further.

Call the admissions offices and inquire about the majors.

Be sure to ask if your teen can hold off on choosing a specific major. For instance, if your teen's interested in Computers, but doesn't know if they want to do Computers/Business or Computers/Programming, ask how long your teen will have to make that decision. Most colleges give freshman generic course loads and specific major courses aren't given until the second year. So, your teen could get a whole year of college - and maturity - under their belt before having to make a decision.

Following these steps will help your teen narrow down and most likely find his college major choices. The ultimate decision will be theirs to make. Help your teen go through the steps and then give them some time to decide on their own. When they make the decision, support it.

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