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As the father of one college graduate and one college student (and being a college graduate myself), I know the anxiety of picking the right college and then the right major. There are plenty of articles out there about the kind of degrees and majors that will land you the best job and the best pay. But one recent NYT article questions the importance of this age-old question of the "right major", and instead suggests that college students focus on several other factors to increase the likelihood that a student will stay in college and gain the most from their experience.

  1. Seek passionate faculty members. It's easy to get lost in a sea of faces, especially in a large lecture setting. But if you find one faculty member that is passionate about their teaching and research, you will be more likely to get something out of your class regardless of size.
  2. Dive into your research projects. The benefits of research projects in college go beyond the letter grade that you receive. You can achieve the skills of critical thinking, reasoning, and working through situations with uncertain results, which gives you an edge when you hit the job market.
  3. Go on a study abroad trip. Study abroad trips are also a good resume booster. However, study abroad is also ranked as one of the most transforming life experiences for most college students, above friendships and coursework.
  4. Be creative, take risks, and learn to fail. Many experts view college students as lacking in the creativity department these days; that is, learning through doing, failing and just having fun. So be sure to seek out environments where you can be creative and fail on occasion.

Overall, it doesn't matter so much what major you choose. What is important is that you develop the skills that employers will look for after you graduate including writing, complex reasoning, or critical-thinking. Unfortunately, a college degree doesn't make you stand out in the crowd the way that it used to–it's nore of a "check off" for many employers, making it vitally important that you show that you gained something more than a degree while in college.

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