Your college major might not matter as much as you would think.
Before college, students feel a lot of pressure to choose their college major. It feels like a huge decision because it feels so permanent… doesn’t your degree decide your career path for the rest of your life?!
Here’s what one Mississippi resident said about choosing a college major: “It was time to figure out what I was going to major in, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I stopped because I didn’t want to waste time or money.”
We get it! It’s normal to feel this way when it comes to big decisions.
If you can relate and don’t know which major to choose, or if you picked a more “general” degree, then this article is for you.
No fancy major? No big problem
Did you know that only about 27% of people with bachelor’s degrees work in the field of their college major? (Source)
This is just one reason that your college major might not matter as much as you would expect.
This shows that there is value in (almost!) any degree even if it is not related directly to your eventual job title.
It’s also a fact that more and more jobs are requiring a bachelor’s degree, but often these jobs are filled by people who don’t have college education in that specific field. Even a non-specialized degree can be a helpful key to your future career.
Here are some degrees that could be considered “general” even though they can help you pursue your career:
- Liberal arts fields (including humanities, English, and other creative arts)
- Business administration
- Generic engineering, math, or physics degrees
- General studies
It might feel cool to pursue a degree in Egyptology, Comedy Writing & Performing, or Adventure Education (yes, these are real degrees!). However, you’ll likely set yourself up for MORE potential job opportunities if you choose something general – and versatile.
Of course, many jobs DO require that you study extensively in a particular area. There’s a reason that orthopedic surgeons don’t have medieval history degrees. The engineers designing hybrid Toyotas didn’t major in digital advertising.
So, if you’re pursuing a highly-specialized degree to reach a specific career, keep it up! However, don’t put off your college or career goals because you feel like you MUST have a niche degree.
that is available to thousands of qualifying adults in the Magnolia State.
Why does it matter to have a degree?
An associate or bachelor’s degree — even a general one — matters because it proves that you’ve spent time learning and practicing important life skills, along with studying specific topics.
These life skills can include things like these:
- Written and oral communication
- Ethical decision-making
- Critical thinking
- Time management
- Understanding diverse viewpoints
The first four items on this list are from a survey of employers who indicated that it was MORE important for potential job candidates to have these top skills than to have a degree in their industry. Even a generic degree showed that candidates had practiced skills that made them competitive candidates for jobs.
As a Harvard Business Review study found in 2017, employers are increasingly requiring bachelor’s degrees as a condition of hire, even if their current workers do not have degrees. In our competitive economy, achieving a degree is like a test that you need to pass in order to be considered for in-demand jobs.
But what kinds of jobs can I get with a general degree?
There are so many options for jobs that you can get with a bachelor’s degree… even if your degree isn’t highly specialized. Here are just a few examples:
Technical / computer careers are a growing need in our economy, and within the last decade there’s been a trend to hire people with liberal arts degrees for tech careers. For instance, you might be surprised to learn that people who majored in music become excellent software developers!
Managerial positions are needed in nearly every organization, and in Mississippi, management positions are predicted to be a rapidly-growing segment of available jobs. Having any degree can give you the competitive edge you need to get management positions, especially if you also have experience in the area you’re pursuing.
Highly-specialized industries also have positions for people with general degrees. Even healthcare, manufacturing, and higher education sectors offer in-demand jobs that don’t require you to be a doctor or engineer or college professor. You can find attractive job options in almost any industry even if you don’t possess a specific credential in that area. (Read more about the 2022 trending industries in Mississippi here.)
Are you sitting on college credits that could apply to a degree?
Many students start college but then stop before achieving a degree. Many pause their studies for family or financial reasons, but others stop because they don’t know which degree path to choose.
If you have already gained some college credits, this could be a good time to put those credits to use for you!
Mississippi students can access a state program called Complete 2 Compete (C2C). C2C helps adults who have some college credits to return to school and finish their degrees. C2C benefits include financial grants, guidance from C2C coaches, and other resources to help adults finish their degrees faster.
C2C also offers a special degree option called the University Studies Degree. It’s designed for students who may already have a lot of college credits but who never finished their bachelor’s degree. It’s perfect for those who weren’t able to complete a specific degree path for some reason, but who can still benefit from a credential.
C2C Coaches work with adult students like you to create a custom University Studies program based on your interests, desired university, existing credits, and even your military or other work experiences. Combining these credits often means that students can graduate with a degree after taking just a few courses, or maybe even without any additional coursework!
Since 2017, 1405 MS adults have graduated with University Studies (bachelor’s) degrees!
Dr. Carlos Wilson is one of the C2C coaches. He’s helped some students finish their degrees by taking several more courses, but other students already have enough credits to qualify for a University Studies degree. It makes his day to get to share this good news with students!
“Any time we can tell someone that they don’t have to take any more coursework and are eligible to walk across the stage with the next graduating class… this is why I love this program,” smiles Wilson. “I got to deliver that message to a man who had left college back in the 60s. Imagine finding out that you have enough credits to earn a degree when you are over 70 years old. Doesn’t get better than that.”
Thousands of Mississippi adults may already have enough credits to receive an associate or bachelor's degree. In fact, data collected over the past 15 years shows that thousands of people have credits waiting to be used:
- 17,281 adult Mississippians may have earned enough college credits for a degree.
- 67,633 adult Mississippians are within a few courses of finishing a degree.
Watch Barry and Cindy talk about their University Studies degrees:
Could you be like Barry and Cindy? If you’ve earned any college credits over the past 50+ years, then you may be closer than you think to a degree.
It’s easy to learn more. Just complete this simple survey and a C2C representative will help you discover your next steps. And remember, C2C is a free program from the state of Mississippi that is available to thousands of qualifying adults in the Magnolia State.
Don’t get stuck in “Analysis Paralysis”
Most of us have “commitment-phobia.” It’s scary to make decisions that seem to be permanent and affect the rest of life!
But waiting until you discover the perfect college degree could result in “analysis paralysis”... doing nothing while you analyze all the options.
Thankfully, choosing a college major doesn’t have to be a stressful decision. Even a more “general” degree in an area that interests you can open doors and opportunities. Many employers don’t “care” about your specific college major, but having an associate or bachelor’s degree is a way to show that you have important life skills and a general body of knowledge.
To move forward with your degree, choose an area that is versatile and in line with your skills. Starting on your degree path will even help you discover if you want to learn more about a certain field.
If you have any college credits but no degree, complete the simple C2C survey to see if you qualify for the C2C program. It only takes a few minutes to finish. After reviewing your info, a C2C representative will guide you through the steps to help you discover options for finishing a degree.
Complete the survey now. The C2C program can provide grant money and other exclusive benefits like the University Studies degree and a C2C Coach to help you reach your college dreams… and a more satisfying career!