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Answers to Your College Questions

I want to be an anthropology major, but I've heard that I'll have a hard time finding a job after college. Is that true?

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How does my college major affect my careerToday’s job market is a fast-changing, information and service-based environment. To thrive in this setting, companies have become less focused on finding employees with specialized expertise as they once were. Instead, they look for skills that are applicable to all areas of the workforce—particularly in critical thinking and communication. This means they typically hire good team players with excellent people skills who can learn quickly. Luckily, many areas of study will enable you to develop those skills.

For example, if you major in people-centered subjects—such as anthropology, sociology, or psychology, to name a few—you will learn quite a bit about human behavior. Studying human behavior will help you to build people skills that will be useful when collaborating with colleagues in the workplace.

Majors that require you to read a lot and write many papers are good practice as you prepare for your career. You have to be able to write presentations, memos, and reports in almost every career field. To be successful in the workforce, your writing must be clear, logical, persuasive, and have good grammar and spelling. Even students who choose to attend graduate school can benefit from reading and writing majors. Students who score well on tests for graduate programs, such as the MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, and GRE, must be as successful in the verbal sections of those tests as they are in content-driven sections. That means they must have a lot of practice with reading challenging content, and students who major in literature, history, or political science often have many opportunities to expand their reading comprehension.

Finally, when it comes to choosing a major that will lead you to success, it is critical that you choose a major you enjoy. If you like studying a subject, you will be more engaged in it. You will think critically about professors’ questions because they interest you. You will study better and be more creative with your schoolwork than if you were struggling to understand the basic concepts of a subject you don’t care about. As a result, your grades will be better. Good grades will serve as evidence to potential employers that you are intelligent, learn well, and will be successful in your career.

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Tagged in: Careers College Majors

Dr. Marcia Y. Cantarella has held positions at Hunter College, Princeton University, New York University, and Metropolitan College of New York during her distinguished career as a dean and vice president of student affairs. Through her expertise in delivering student services and strategies, she has enhanced the academic experiences of and outcomes for generations of students. She is now president of Cantarella Consulting in New York City where she works with colleges and organizations on issues of higher education pipelines, access, diversity, and student access.

Cantarella is the author of I Can Finish College, which you can find in the College Countdown bookstore.