Why Are You Going to College?

What do you think college is for? Do you see it as a means to figure out your career and gaining job training skills? Or, do you see it as the time in your life where you can expand your mind and take a variety of subjects for the joy of learning? Or, is it a hybrid of these two ideas?

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, “Colleges Priceless Value, Higher Education, Liberal Arts and Shakespeare,” author, Frank Bruni remembers a defining moment for him in college that some have suggested have zero relevance to getting a job outside of a career in academia or in theater.

I admire his observations and it does bring up a lot of questions outside the scope of this article. I disagree, however, with those who think that a Shakespeare class or Liberal Arts major is useless as far as gaining meaningful employment. Here’s why.

Expanding your brain is invaluable and makes for an educated society. A student taking this class will learn how to decode, absorb, and understand difficult language in order to understand old Bill Shakespeare’s stories, while gaining perspectives on what makes people tick that has stood the test of time.

Critical thinking skills are invaluable in a wide range of jobs, including and especially among those who major is business—the number one major in college nationwide.

What business major doesn’t need to be able to read and interpret business plans, spreadsheets, financial documents and more? And what engineer doesn’t need to be able to think deeply and constructively to solve a myriad of engineering problems yet to be identified and solved? These two majors, are often times thought of as “good majors” that lead to “good” careers, by both students and parents, if for no other reason than because they’re concrete subjects. But as a reminder to all, it’s not all about what you study that makes you successful; it’s what you do in college and the experiences you gain that will ultimately determine your hiring worth in the real world.

So for students—especially those in the Class of 2016—thinking about college and worrying about what they should be when they grow up, take a breath: focus on what you need in a college experience, where your interests lie, and then research schools based on that list. If you’re feeling stressed because you feel like you have to choose something now at 16 or 17 years of age that will guarantee you employment at graduation, take another breath and read “30 People With ‘Soft’ College Majors Who Became Extremely Successful.” The majority had undergrad degrees in the liberal arts and went on to do great things, including more schooling!

And if all that fails, remember that 10-20 years ago jobs that your parents couldn’t even dream about became legitimate:

  • Social Media Manager, Blogger, Web Content Developer for a communications or English major with maybe a minor in computer programming;
  • Sustainability Expert for an environmental or business management major;
  • Elder care—gerontology, health care majors and even communications majors to talk about end-of-life issues with families will be critical;
  • App Developer, Graphic or Game Designer, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategist, Library Science and Data Mining Experts for computer programming, computer science, technology and library science majors.

Finally, if you don’t know where or how to start your college research and want help understanding the types of majors out there, contact Simply College Prep for guidance. There are over 2,500 four-year colleges and universities and it’s our job to find a list of schools potentially just right for you.