Some students have known since kindergarten what they want to do when they grow up. Others aren’t sure, even with high school graduation right around the corner.
No matter which group your child belongs to, don't worry. There's plenty of time for them to decide on a college major and career path. They'll probably even change their mind a few times—and that's OK.
The following tips can help you get your child thinking about what majors and careers may be a good fit for them.
Start a Conversation
The first step in helping your child choose a career path is to talk to them. No matter how well you know your child, some of their interests may surprise you.
- Ask about their interests. It may be no secret that your child loves animals, but did you know they’re also fascinated by bridges? Or maybe they dream of conducting an orchestra. If you want your child to have a career they enjoy, it’s important to learn what they like to do.
- Make a list. Have your child make a list of the activities they enjoy, as well as areas they’re interested in exploring.
Almost every interest is associated with at least one college major—and every major is associated with at least one profession. Getting your child to articulate their interests is a good way for them to begin thinking about what they want to study in college.
Match Interests to Majors and Careers
Once your child has made a list of their interests, ask them to write down all the college majors that seem related. There are some great online tools to help you and your child connect their interests to majors.
Career Finder is a free, interactive website that asks students what most inspires and interests them, then displays the majors and career fields that best match their responses. The site, which is available exclusively to students who've taken the SAT or a PSAT-related assessment, features videos of professionals talking about their jobs and the path they took to get there.
BigFuture is another great resource for your child to learn what majors and careers might be right for them. It’s got expert advice from college faculty and staff and interviews with college students discussing how and why they chose a particular major.
Next, it's time for your child to think about what careers those majors might prepare them for. One profession may match two or more of your child’s interests.
For example, if your child is a people person who’s into economics, they might want to major in psychology or business, and human resources might be a good career choice.
If your child is taking an AP course they really enjoy, we recommend looking at the AP Students website to see which majors and careers are connected to each AP course.