Parent Resource Expert’s Tip of the Month – March

Should a Recession Affect the Major that a College Student Chooses?

Some careers maintain success and stability even during periods of recession and economic downturn. We explored whether a recession should impact what students were choosing as majors – and whether parents were encouraging their student into “safer” fields. We found that most college students choose to study what they are interested in rather than focusing on how “safe” their job future might be – and their parents generally support that decision.

We spoke to a college freshman’s father, who is currently on a job search – after being laid off for the second time in as many years. When asked if he was more concerned about the field his daughter pursues in light of his experiences and the recession we may or may not be in, he explained that he really hadn’t considered his daughters plans from the perspective of the recession.

“Not at all”, he explained. “She has a goal of continuing to dance, being a performer and owning her own dance studio – the field seems somewhat recession proof; parents want their kids to do what they enjoy, if they are interested in dance, the parents will put them in a dance class – so in that sense, I think my daughter is headed down a good path – and she is pursuing her dream”. To him, it is more important for his daughter to pursue a field that she will love, versus choosing a field where she would be unhappy.

Whereas Chasity Kraus, a 2nd year sonography student, decided to change careers and has returned to school after originally obtaining a master’s degree in Textile Technology and spending 5 years pursuing a career in the textile chemistry industry. She ultimately left textile chemistry as jobs moved overseas – and opportunities for career growth left with them.

When asked if she ever considered the future of the textile industry in the US while in school, she replied, “No, not at all. I had worked in the field for four years before graduating and felt like I knew what to expect. Despite my experience and depth of education, I found myself at an unexpected career crossroads.”

“I guess I never thought about a career choice as being safe during a recession – I decided to go into healthcare because I have always been interested in it,” Mrs. Kraus explained, “And, actually right now, the hospital where I do clinicals, the 3rd largest in the US, has a hiring freeze in place. I’m not sure any field is safe in today’s economy. Someone should choose a career path because they enjoy it, not because it is supposedly safe.”

In responding to how she feels about having to find a job in 13 weeks – after graduation, Mrs. Kraus explains, “I feel confident I will find work. I’ve had offers for part-time positions, and in my field there’s a lot of transition, so I’m confident something will open up.”

Remember, a career, in theory, should last much longer than a downturn in the economy – and every industry suffers from highs and lows over time. There is no guarantee that choosing a “safe” major and career path will lead to success and be forever immune from the volatility of the economy.

Article courtesy of University Parent Media,
~ Sarah Schupp, Parent Resource Expert, Campus Calm

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