Help Your Children Choose Their College Major

Choosing a college major can be tough, especially if you don't know what you really want. Here we'll give parents some recommendations to help their children with this important decision.
Help Your Children Choose Their College Major

Last update: 05 June, 2019

Choosing a college major isn’t as easy as it sounds. When the time comes to go to college, most students haven’t figured out what they’re passionate about, or what they’re good at, so they don’t know what to choose.

What can you do as a parent? How can you help your kids choose what they want to study?

Many students finish high school and don’t know what subject to specialize in, or what field is best for them. Many of them choose what they think they want, based on how they feel at the moment.

Some students want to go wherever their friends are going or they give in to whatever society wants. But not everybody wants to be a doctor or an engineer.

As a parent, try to avoid future frustrations for your children. Help them stay on track because fewer than 40% of students enrolling for the first time in college eventually drop out.

Help Your Children Choose Their College Major

Help your children choose their college major

Parents shouldn’t impose what they want over their children’s lives. Surely, they won’t do as great as you expect, simply because they don’t like what they’re studying.

Again, remember that choosing a college major isn’t that simple. This can define your children’s lives. Therefore, you need to help them prepare for their professional future. 

There are also many factors that influence this decision. These can include personal preferences in that very moment, not wanting to get separated from their friends, or just following in their parents’ footsteps.

Parents can help their children choose their college major with four simple steps, always paying attention to their children’s personal preferences and aspirations.

Suggested considerations

There are two aspects to consider to correctly guide teenagers:

  • Know what they like.
  • Keep track of their school record, for the last three years of high school, and try to identify what they’re good at.

4 steps to help teens choose their college major

1. Conversation

It’s important to have an honest and open conversation with teenagers. While you’re talking to them, write down a list of all their skills, abilities, and academic record so you can really know their chances to get into college, no matter what major they choose.

It’s important that students feel free to discuss these subjects. As a responsible adult, you have to listen and make them feel understood and supported in their decision.

2. Taking a vocational test

After talking about their strengths and weaknesses, they should take a vocational test to help them know their educational tendencies.

They can take these tests at their district’s offices, or online.

Help Your Children Choose Their College Major

3. Do work visits

Many times, teens have a romanticized idea about work. That’s why this step is very important to do. Take prospective students to an accountant’s office, or an engineer’s office, or a hospital, for example. This way they can have a real grasp of what’s the day-to-day in these job fields.

4. Choosing the right college

Choosing the right college is an important step to make them feel independent and happy studying. Join them and check the options that are best for them.

Help Your Children Choose Their College Major

In short, you need to realize that many high schoolers don’t want to start college right away. They might even take a gap year. However, don’t take this as a bad sign. It can give them more time to grow and direct their efforts the right way.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.