What If My Child Wants to Pursue a Top 10 Worst College Major?
Our middle son has a passion for filmmaking. His passion began around age 7 with a film created on his “Digital Blue” camera about his imaginary land of “Telbonia.” Since his first film, he has become an award-winning and money-making high school film maker and video producer. I love to share his adventures with friends and family, who invariably ask if he plans to pursue film as a career. As a parent, this is a scary question because from everything we read film is one of the Top 10 Worst College Majors.
Top 10 Worst College Majors
(Originally published: October 22, 2015)
The graphic below shows a 12.9% unemployment rate for recent film and video majors. My husband and I talk about this topic frequently. As two left-brainers with accounting and science degrees, we have no idea what a career in film entails or if it is even a possibility.
So, what should you do if your child wants a degree in film, creative writing, British literature or another major that is not necessarily going to yield a job offer at graduation?
We are forming a plan of action as we wrestle with these questions:
Plan of Action for Top 10 Worst College Majors
We’ve talked and speculated, but now it is time for actual research. Our questions include: What are the top film schools? Are their graduates employed and where? What are the types of film degrees? Is one better than another? Is there a way to double major in film and business or film and something else? Are there business degrees with an emphasis in the film industry? I do not know the answer to any of these questions!
PAYING FOR IT
What do these places cost???? Do they give academic scholarships or is a film degree only for the super wealthy and connected?
WHO IS THIS JOURNEY ABOUT?
We all want our children to be happy and self-sufficient. What if he puts his all into a career in film and it does not work out? What then? Would we feel like failures as parents because we “let” him do this? Would we feel that because we paid for his education, that we are entitled to a return on our investment that includes pride in his accomplishments?
The journey will ultimately be his. He will have to weigh the risk vs. reward of this pursuit. He knows we are not the kind of parents who will allow him to move back into his childhood room as a college graduate. He will be expected to figure out how to support himself with whatever degree he chooses.
Helping a child plan his future can be scary. We are approaching our anxiety with research, research, and more research, including the big question of how to pay for his pursuit. We will help him pursue all scholarship and financial aid opportunities and provide a budget of our contribution to his college funding. In the end the decision about a college major will be his with the understanding that we will cheer for him the whole way, but expect him to mature into an independent job-holding member of society.
(Update: September 17, 2017)
Results of our Research
We visited several schools with well-regarded film degrees. At 3 of the schools to which he applied, he was required to not only apply to the school, but also to the department. While it makes it much more competitive to be accepted to the school, it is encouraging as a parent that the number of students from the top film schools looking for employment in 4 years will be limited.
Our son is now a freshman film major at the University of Texas in Austin. At UT a film degree is called “RTF” or “Radio, TV, Film.” It is in the Communications department. His plan is to double-major in Advertising, which is also in the Communications department. While we want him to pursue his dreams of film making, we came to an agreement with him that he would also major in a more employable field. Looking at the graph, it appears that there are many jobs in advertising, so we are pleased with this decision.
Paying for It
None of the schools we looked at and that he was accepted to are cheap. His choices came down to private colleges in California or out-of-state tuition in Texas. Still praying for more departmental scholarship money.
Who Is This Journey About?
The journey is still about our son. We are very proud of his high school accomplishments and the way he has responsibly began college. We are excited to see what the future holds for him.
Do you have any experiences (positive or negative) with Top 10 Worst College Majors? If so, I would love for you to comment below with your experiences or share your child's journey so far.
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