OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Degree Paralysis

As many as 80% of students change their major at least once, which can incur costs and ultimately increase time and money spent at college.

Photo of Jennifer
8 5

Written by

Attachments (1)

8 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Caitlin Sikora

Hi Jennifer,

I have had similar experiences with changing majors and career paths, though I don't view any of my less focused educational endeavors as a waste. I think they have all been incredibly influential in my overall development as a person.

That said, I completely agree that students should have more access to tools to help them choose a career path. High school curricula are generally focused on broad education, which is clearly important, but provides little to no experience in real career fields. Perhaps, this exploration should be a greater part of high school level education.

Thanks for sharing!

Photo of Majed

Hey Jennifer, I have been through a similar experience, I had to change my major and spent one more year at college. I completely agree with you, there should be more programs that help students choose the right major. It’s important to have an understanding of what vocational path does the major lead to.

Photo of Jennifer

Hi Majed, do you have any suggestions on potential programs to implement and how we can make them effective? At my college, they organize company field trips to visit different businesses and see what they do/learn more about their industry. It would be cool to offer a similar style for high schoolers to explore fields of studies that they are interested in.

Photo of Majed

Hi Jennifer,, I believe that in order to make programs more effective, they should actually be done in the last year of high school. Students should be fully prepared before going to college, there should be more programs that provide students with information needed to choosing a major and also helping them to understand the difference between high school and college. Many students feel the first semester is the hardest and they don’t do well because they just didn’t get used to college. Having a bad start in college could also lead to changing the major and in some cases, dropping out of university.

Photo of Beatriz

Excellent point! changing major often implies more costs.

Photo of Ali Harcourt

Hi Jennifer, love your idea and definitely see the value in it!

I just wanted to suggest a potential way to achieve this would be "work experience". In some schools in Australia a week of work experience (where students spend a week in a company of their choosing) is included into the school term during year 10. The intention is to give students a 'taster' of industries they might potentially be interested.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Thanks for the contribution Jennifer! Our Description box wasn't visible at the time of your post. We'd love for you to add more details to this submission in the now active Description section. You can update your Research post by hitting Edit Contribution at the top. Then scroll down to add more content to this awesome post. Remember to click save when you're done updating!

Photo of Luwana Masteller

I feel that one of the main benefits of going to a regular college or university, instead of a trade or technical school, it that you have the opportunity through all of the diverse required courses to explore what you may never have had experience with. When you are exposed to new information and possibilities, you have the opportunity to change your direction. Maybe 4-year colleges could make it easier for individuals to hold off on choosing a major in the beginning.