“I think choosing majors should always remain the student’s responsibility,” one reader wrote in response to D’Arcy’s question.“ If parents choose for the kid, or threaten to influence their decision with tuition support, that’s not going to be proactive or helpful for anyone--the student will grow up resentful and unhappy, and likewise have no motivation for a job.”
Ende had a different take. “I think parents should require that their children think about their job life after college and find out what major will get them to that,” she says.
Ende believes it’s appropriate for parents to tell their college-bound children that they are to choose majors that will lead to a job or enable them to get into a graduate program that will lead to a job.
“It’s one of those areas of life that the adolescent college student is not really prepared to determine for himself, because he doesn’t have to pay for it and may not want to think about his independent life after college,” Ende told D’Arcy.
I agree with this person who commented on the issue: “While it is worth almost anything to get them out of the house, if you are paying their tuition they deserve to get some wisdom from you too about their major and finding some skill that someone will be willing to pay them for after graduation.”
I’ve told my children they can choose their major but that my husband and I plan on being very involved in helping them with their career planning. They also have to work hard by getting several internships and on-the-job training while they are in college to make sure that they can make a living at what they love.
Let’s continue the conversation. For this week’s Color of Money question: If you’ve paid for your child’s education did you try to influence or give advice about what major he or she studied, and if so, how did it work out? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “If Parents Are Paying Should They Get A Say?” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, city and state.
“Is Your Advanced Degree Worth the Debt?”
In my column last Sunday, I opined that not enough students — and their families, who are also taking on student loans — are asking what their college major is worth in the workforce. I wrote about a new report released by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, “Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal.”
That column hit a nerve with lots of people. In fact, I received a number of e-mails from Korean students who were assigned to respond to the column for their English class.