Tips & Advice
Understanding college majors
Your eventual career title may be very different from what you envisaged in an academic major. Research the different paths that people have taken after completing majors that you’re interested in to understand the full scope of what you can do with a degree.
- History, philosophy, economics, and psychology majors can pursue careers in business or sales.
- Chemistry, physics, and biology students can pursue careers in engineering or one of the many health professions.
- Art History, English, and sociology majors often explore careers in education or journalism.
And, to give you some examples of how a career doesn’t always relate to a major:
- Comedian Jon Stewart and actress Natalie Portman majored in psychology (not theater!).
- Guitarist Tom Morello (of Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine) has a degree in political science, not music.
- Phil Knight, co-founder of the sports brand Nike, has an undergraduate degree in journalism.
- Billionaire Carl Icahn has an undergraduate degree in philosophy.
- Computer business owner David Packard studied Classics (not computers or business).
Watch out for tricks and scams in college-bound communities.
Do not pay somebody to fill out your FAFSA for you. You can ask for free help at a place like a college’s financial aid office, or you can visit the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s website for assistance.
Understanding potential resources and amenities
College is a home away from home where students live, eat, sleep, and play. It is also a rich well of resources, many of which are available for you to utilize. When you are visiting colleges, be sure to ask questions like:
- Do you offer tutoring and additional academic resources to students?
- Where can a student go if he or she gets sick?
- Does your school have mental health advisors or an office that specializes in serving students with special needs?
- Who can I talk to if I don’t get along with my roommate?
- What kinds of clubs are available on campus?