There’s a lot of material and discussion about picking colleges. Prospective parents and senior high school students are bombarded with material, booklets and other assorted advertising material. There are also guides written by parents and others about how to handle this process without drowning.
However, for all the talk about where to go, there isn’t enough talk about what to learn and why. Far too many students pick a field of study in college without researching it first. By researching I mean studying the profession itself, not just what kind of classes the college gives on the subject.
The lack of preparedness for entering the actual profession is evident even among students who took “practical” subjects such as law, only to complain that the actual job is very different and more difficult than what they were told. Remember, these are the people who got jobs and not those who are “unemployed graduates”.
Before you go to college and sign up for a field, study it first. Research the job prospects inherent in your field of study and find out what skills you receive from it. Don‘t ask people in the university departments on this subject – go out among the workforce of the field and talk to junior and senior people. Read articles both positive and negative on your subject and learn to critically evaluate them. Go into college with both eyes open, armed with the knowledge of both the advantages and the disadvantages of whatever field you pick.
Remember, when it comes to choosing a profession that requires three or more years of college training, willful ignorance is an indulgence you can’t afford.
NEXT: Tip #3: Don’t pick a college for the prestige (unless your parents are millionaires)