The senior year of high school is an overwhelming time for many students. They have to prepare for going to college, which usually involves leaving their friends and family, as well as for deciding on what they want to study. In addition to that, they still need to attend classes in school, do homework, and find time for socializing and pursuing their interests. Because many students focus on their schoolwork, they have no time to prepare for college and consider their future career options, which leads to them switching majors or entering a career that they do not enjoy. Given that it is often hard for students to balance studies and college preparation, it would be beneficial for schools to reduce the class time for senior year students and allow them to focus on exploring various careers and interests outside of school.
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Firstly, it is essential to note that many students go to college not knowing what they want to do in the future. There is significant pressure on high school students to decide on a career that they would like to pursue. However, as noted by Torpey, most students are still unclear about their future at the end of high school. Although they might have some subjects or activities that they find interesting, they may have doubts about whether or not it would be worthwhile to focus on them. Additionally, given the cost of college education in the United States, most students feel the need to choose popular and financially stable career fields. This might explain why so many students decide to study management, accounting, finance, and similar majors.
After a semester or two in college, these students realize that they have chosen a major that they are not interested in and switch majors. According to a recent study, “only 36 percent [of ACT test-takers] chose a major that fit their interests” (Sheehy).
Moreover, research shows that a third of college students change their major at least once while in college (Lederman). This can be problematic because switching majors means that students lose the time that they could have spent studying subjects they truly enjoy. Moreover, switching majors might require students to take additional classes, which contributes to college costs and increases their student loan.
Choosing the wrong major and deciding not to switch to a different one later on, can be just as harmful because it leads people to enter a career that they do not like. Studies show that many Americans have a job they hate and that the majority of workers are not interested in performing well. For example, a 2017 study by Deloitte showed that only 13 percent of working people in the United are passionate about their jobs.
Further, 23 percent “score high on an index of engagement indicators, but do not have all three attributes of worker passion,” but 64 percent of workers reported feeling disengaged and unhappy (Deloitte). These statistics are rather worrying because people’s levels of engagement and passion for their job affect performance. If a person hates their job or feels indifferent about it, they are less motivated to succeed at it and complete most tasks half-heartedly. They can also develop psychological conditions, including depression, substance abuse, and anxiety because of being unhappy at work (O’Donnell).
As a result, poor engagement harms both employees and companies equally. On the one hand, companies’ financial and operational performance suffers, leading to poor chances to stay in business and grow. On the other hand, workers who do not perform well have fewer opportunities for career development. They could either stay in the same job for years or even decades or quit the job and start another career. Both of these options prevent people from having an income that increases over time and fulfills their needs.
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The main reason for all of the adverse outcomes described above is that many students have talents and interests that they don’t get a chance to pursue because of school. The number of subjects that students can study in school is limited, and thus they have to make time for their hobbies outside of school. And even for students who are interested in areas covered in school, the class time is not enough to explore the subject in detail and understand whether or not it is truly something that they want to do for the rest of their life. During the senior year, students are particularly busy, which means that they cannot devote as much time to their hobbies as they need. This means that they might miss the chance to explore career opportunities that they could be passionate about, leading to poor choices in future studies and work.
Allowing more time for students to pursue their interests and learn more about various career options would help students to get more direction in life. Torpey states that in order for students to choose the right path, it is essential for them to understand their interests and abilities, identify matching careers, and get some experience by the end of senior year. This can be done through internships, after-school jobs, volunteering, and many other work-related activities.
Additionally, it could be beneficial for students to take courses related to their career of interest because this would help them to understand whether or not they want to choose this major in college. As a result of these changes, senior year students would be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed choice about their future studies and career. Moreover, it will minimize the probability of them wanting to switch majors in college or being unhappy with their job.
Undoubtedly, the key argument against the proposed change is that schools will have to decrease class time or reduce the amount of homework. Thus, students will learn less in some or all subjects by the end of school. While the information obtained from classes can help them in becoming smarter and more knowledgeable, it is often irrelevant to their future life and career. Students will learn a lot more meaningful information by choosing the right major in college than by doing their homework or spending a few extra hours in class in the senior year. Therefore, the benefits of reducing school time for senior year students would far outweigh the costs.
All in all, research shows that many students go to college not knowing what they want to study and do in the future. This has an adverse effect on their academic and professional life because students have to switch majors or enter a career that does not interest them. In order to prevent this, it is critical to give students more free time during senior year to explore their interests and related careers. While these changes would reduce school time, they would promote meaningful learning in college and help students to create a foundation for their future careers.
Deloitte. “Deloitte Study: Only 13 Percent of the US Workforce Is Passionate About Their Jobs.” PR Newswire. 2017. Web.
Lederman, Doug. “Who Changes Majors? (Not Who You Think).” Inside Higher Ed. 2017. Web.
O’Donnell, J. T. “I Spent 15 Years Studying Why People Hate Their Jobs. This Is the Top Reason.” Inc. 2018. Web.
Sheehy, Kelsey. “Study: High School Grads Choosing Wrong College Majors.” U.S. News. 2013. Web.
Torpey, Elka. “Career Planning for High Schoolers.” Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2015. Web.