Monthly Archives: November 2013

My parents want me to major in…

My parents want me to major in… but I have no interest in a career in that field.

We (advisors and faculty) hear this a lot. Here are a few recommendations on how to handle these delicate situations.

Option: If you know what you want to major in, meet with a major advisor, discuss career possibilities within the field, find out about job placement rates of recent graduates and come up with a semester, by semester, academic plan through to graduation. With this information, hopefully you would have the resources and knowledge to speak with your parents about this major and the opportunities it provides.

Option: If you do not know what you want to major it, but you know it is not the major your parents are pressuring you toward, meet with a career counselor to do major exploration. Career centers have numerous activities and resources to assist students in making this decision, and they know the specific major options available on your campus. Once you have some majors in mind, speak with your parents about them, emphasizing those that are better suited for your strengths and interests. Hopefully, you will be able to sway them to relax on their desires and support your choices.

Option: If you have strengths in the field of study your parents are guiding you toward, we recommend you speak with a career counselor about career choices that align with the major; you may be surprised by the options. Also, speak to a major advisor in the discipline to gain deeper insight on the courses required for the degree. These two activities may help spark your interest in the major and allow you to make an educated decision about your field of study.

Notes: 1) Unless you have a very specific career goal, such as nursing, engineering, or a job that requires a certification (i.e. certified public accountant), most majors will allow you to purse a career field of your choice. 2) Unless written permission is given, parents, by law (FERPA), are not allowed access your student record.

Time to Prepare for the SAT

Should my daughter be studying for the SAT?

Yes! Most definitely.

An upcoming SAT exam date is Dec. 7, 2013. You should encourage your daughter to be brushing up on her vocabulary, math and writing skills. The SAT tests English grammar including usage, reading comprehension, and math content from their 3rd year in high school (e.g., junior year in high school).

Pay attention to your local newspapers and community bulletin boards, including local library and high school information boards, for announcements about SAT prep workshops. Typically these workshops are fee-based and will begin 4-5 weeks in advance of the actual exam. The advantages to these prep workshops are they provide explicit skill instruction in how to take the exam; they do not aim to teach specific math or English grammar skills.

The SAT is a timed test that lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes; it has 170 questions across 10 sections. The areas tested include reading (67 questions), math (54) and writing (49).

There are many SAT preparatory books which give your student much of the information that a workshop would provide. While the books can also be costly, check the local library for recent editions. There are also online resources, which will help your student become familiar with the style of SAT questions. We recommend at the very least your student familiarize her/himself with the style and format of the exam, as it will (should?) help your student score higher.

Finally, we recommend your student take at least 2 practice tests prior to the actual exam date. Try to make sure your student takes the exam under the same conditions as exam day. Your student should begin the exam at 8 am; adhere to the 3 hours and 45 minutes; stay sitting in the same location/seat and do not eat/ or drink during the exam. Encourage your student to practice not just answering the questions but the physical conditions that the exam demands.

Good luck!

The Choice: To Minor or Double Major?

My major is only 37 units, but I need 120 to graduate. Should I minor or double major?

This situation is actually a great predicament to be in. You have the opportunity to graduate with a broad range of knowledge and experiences!

Speak with your major advisor and a career counselor on your campus since they each should be familiar with the majors and minors offered at your institution. Ask your major advisor for ideas on second majors and minors; s/he should have recommendations which would be an asset, or compliment, to your major. While investigating these options, make sure to take note of how many units each of them are; it would be best to keep yourself close to the 120 unit minimum.

Ask the career counselor about career options within the major(s) and minors you’re investigating. Find out if there are internship opportunities in these fields in the local area. Conduct some informational interviews to help you narrow your options.

Have fun making this decision!