How to Choose a Major

On the latest episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, host Sally Ganga talks about the connection between major and career and tackles a number of our listeners’ questions.

The Major to Career Connection

Michael Sherman, founder of Graduate to Employment, joins Sally to discuss the role college majors play in job placement. Pulling from his 25+ years of experience in recruitment for companies like Bank of America and EMC, Michael reminds us that employers “hire people not majors.” While he acknowledges there are a few careers that require a specific undergraduate pathway, the vast majority do not, and most industries hire from a breadth of disciplines. Michael suggests ways to explore careers and build skills outside the classroom through clubs, community services, and internships. He also identifies the attributes most sought after by employers and how liberal arts majors can position themselves as unique and valuable job applicants.

Listener Questions

After the break, Sally is joined by Shannon Vasconcelos to take on listeners’ college finance and admissions questions.

  • Finance
    • My family probably won’t qualify for need-based aid. How do we avoid paying full price for college?
    • Do colleges consider 529 plans and private assets when determining financial aid?
    • Which parts of my financial portfolio will be taken into account by financial aid offices?
    • Are there prestigious need-aware schools where it’s to my advantage to be able to pay full price?
  • Admissions
    • Should I take additional AP courses online to boost my transcript? Do colleges look at online courses differently?
    • How many highly selective schools should my son apply to?
    • Do I have to keep taking foreign language in 11th and 12th grade?
    • How many AP courses should I take to be a competitive applicant?

Want one of your questions answered on air? Submit them here.  And tune in to our next episode to learn more about athletics in the college admissions process, understanding Early Action decisions, and navigating financial aid appeals.


Written by Emily Toffelmire
Emily Toffelmire is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Prior to joining College Coach, Emily worked as an admissions officer at University of Southern California as well as a college counselor at high schools in the US and Thailand.