Improving Academic Performance

5 Surprisingly Good College Majors To Consider

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Apr 04, 2013 @ 11:38 AM

college majors tutoring

MyGuru doesn’t discriminate – we provide tutoring in almost all subjects and standardized tests.  However, students certainly request tutors in some subjects much more than others.  This got me to thinking about the various classes students can take in college, and the various majors to which those classes lead.

This is a three-part post that covers two topics:

  • What criteria to use in choosing a college major and
  • 5 example majors which are surprisingly good choices

In this post, part 1, we discuss the criteria one should use in choosing a major and the first recommended college major:

Philosophy.

When I was in college, which was longer ago than I’d care to admit, there were certainly some majors which lacked credibility and/or were viewed as less effective or desirable on the job market.  But at the time that students are choosing these majors during their freshman and sophomore years, some significant portion of the student body doesn’t really know what they want to do with their lives yet.  Luckily, the process of taking various classes in college has a way of helping determine one’s future career path.

But this creates a potential and obvious problem.  What if you choose a major which requires you to take relatively specific classes, but then find out you don’t really enjoy that major and the career path to which it leads?  What can you do to avoid this situation?

Here are some suggestions.  If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you should choose a major which:

  • Doesn’t require highly specialized classes during the sophomore or even freshman year
  • Is difficult, and thus impressive to potential employers
  • Creates options in terms of future career paths
  • You have some reason to believe you are good at
  • You have some reason to believe you will enjoy

With these criteria in mind, we’ve developed five recommended college majors.  The idea here is to suggest majors that might make you think twice – which at first glance seem like risky choices because of a lack of job options or too narrowly focused, but which actually cover most of the points above.  I’ll also make a point to compare the suggested major with other, more common majors to explain why my suggestion might be a better option.

The college majors we’ll be recommending in this three-part series include:

  • Philosophy
  • Economics
  • History
  • Physics
  • English

Suggested Major #1: Philosophy

Many people consider Philosophy as a major and immediately dismiss it.  They might ask what profession leads directly from a degree in Philosophy.  You might say, “well, you can really only hope to go to graduate school, then get your PhD in Philosophy, and become a professor.”  That’s certainly an option.  But, it’s not the only option.  Many people imagine Philosophy majors as abstractly thinking about high level questions that have absolutely no bearing on everyday life – why are we here, what does it mean to be good, etc.    The end result of this type of thinking is – “who in the world would hire a Philosophy major?”

Well, I certainly would.  Having taken Philosophy classes and received a minor in Philosophy, I’ll tell you that they are not easy classes.  They require you to think really hard about scenarios and construct strong arguments.  The required amount of analytical thinking and logic is extremely high throughout a Philosophy curriculum.  It might be obvious to most people that a Philosophy major reads a lot and writes a lot of papers.  What might not be obvious is that they also take more than a few logic classes. 

Have you ever taken an actual logic class?  Well, it comes very close to Math.  As a high end business strategy consultant prior to founding MyGuru, my job involved relatively intense analytics – mining data, running statistical analyses, looking for insights and trends about the business or industry.  At the same time, we needed to communicate and influence our clients, peers, and superiors, through both in-person meetings and written documents.

Over the years, I’ve reviewed a lot of resumes and done a lot of interviews with potential business analysts.  I’ll tell you that a Philosophy major was much more impressive to me than a Marketing, Business Administration, or Communications majors. 

I’d argue that the optionality provided by a Philosophy major is much, much higher than many assume.  You can get into business, law, and any career involving lots of writing.  And, if you want, yes – you can become a Philosopher.

If you're interested in taking Philosophy courses but may need a tutor to truly understand all of the information and abstract ideas, check here for a list of our tutors who have experience with Philosophy.

In our next post, we’ll cover two more recommended majors: Economics and History.

 

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