The only thing harder than picking a major and plotting out a career path as a college student might be standing by and watching as the college student’s parent. Parents have expectations and desires for their students that are also affected by their history and experiences with their own careers. That can make “choosing a major” discussions difficult.
The best advice for parents in this situation? Listen, offer advice, ask questions and stand back. Students who feel supported will be more likely to share their thoughts and fears, which opens up the doors for you to offer advice and help guide them toward sound decisions. But in the end, these decisions have to be their own. Mistakes are as important in the process as successes.
As you start discussions with your student, consider the recent New York Times’ Top 10 List of fast growing jobs, which comprises jobs that require anything from master’s and doctorate degrees to associate’s degrees. Experts predict the following 10 job positions to have a shortage of workers by 2018:
If your student isn’t quite so science or medicine-oriented, don’t worry: WorldWideLearn.com compiled a list of top 10 careers that included Day Care Providers and Elder Care Specialists among the top in-demand jobs for the future. With the increased costs of childcare and the Baby Boomer generation aging, there will continue to be a high demand for compassionate, skilled workers who cater to either end of the age spectrum.
As you discuss career paths with your student, remember that high pay and job availability aren’t necessarily the most important factors. Consider the CNN Best Jobs in America list, which also rates jobs according to low stress levels, flexibility, future growth, satisfaction and benefit to society. Help your student determine what factors will contribute to his overall happiness in a job.
Regardless of how your student determines his chosen career, parents can provide invaluable insight that no professor or academic advisor can. Knowing their students’ strengths, weaknesses, interests and ambition levels, parents can help take a Top 10 list and boil it down to what really matters: Can I see my student finding success and fulfillment in this job?
Help your student research the options and understand his priorities, but don’t forget to ask the right question.
See the full New York Times article Top 10 List: Where the Jobs Are from April 13, 2011.
See the full WorldWideLearn.com list Top Jobs and Careers for the Next Ten Years.
See the full CNNMOney.com/PayScale.com Best Jobs in America survey from the November 2010 issue.