How to Discover the BEST College Major for Your Teen

Overview: My Ideal College is a college and career counseling service that will help any teen narrow down a major and choose colleges to pursue. We went from no clue to a confident choice in just a few weeks! It’s a solid investment in your teen’s future.Note: This article was sponsored by My Ideal College but all opinions are my own.

“Research shows that if your job contains at least 75% of what you naturally like to do, then you’ll be three times more successful in your career.”

So says Laurie Genevish, the lady behind My Ideal College. Her mission is to help teens find a career path that will encompass that 75%. By narrowing down the seemingly infinite career choices that are available these days to those the teen is most suited to, Laurie sets them on a path towards success.

And wow, I’m here to say that My Ideal College’s college and career counseling service is the way to go! Especially if your teen just can’t seem to settle on anything, which is where my youngest was at not too long ago.

My Ideal College is a career counseling service that will help any teen find a major and a college. It's a solid investment in your teen's future!

You see, my daughter had been interested in the medical field for as long as we could remember. As a youngster she loved Apologia’s elementary-level anatomy workbook. She enjoyed natural science of any kind. Animals were a passion. She wanted to join the local Medical Explorers chapter because she wanted to watch a surgery take place. We just assumed she would head towards medical school.

Until she hit higher math. Um, she now HATES math. Oh, and Biology, too, LOL.

I quote: “I can’t see inside a cell; why should I care what’s in there?” #teenlogic

So yea, basically she doesn’t enjoy many of the things what would be a large part of pursuing a medical career. She prefers being physically active and outdoors and doing something very concrete. She doesn’t want to be stuck in a hospital or a medical office. And academics is far down her list of fun activities, so 8+ years of education after high school is really not the best plan for her.

(Side note: Kids can change A LOT once they hit about 14 or 15 years old, y’all. Just be prepared, is all I’m saying…)

All of this is fine, totally fine—except that it meant we were scrambling to figure out what she should think about majoring in at college. There was nothing else that jumped out at her as something to get excited about. Business? NO. Education? NO. Anything inside four walls or behind a desk? NO.

Related Reading: How to Plan High School When Your Teen Has No Goal in Life

Normally this wouldn’t be a huge problem for a high school junior—there is usually a little time yet to decide—except that she is a softball player, and she needs to be reaching out to college coaches to come see her play.

But how can you know which colleges to reach out to if you don’t know which major to choose? This was our problem.

Then I met Laurie Genevish at a homeschool conference. Her career counseling service sounded like exactly what my daughter needed. And sure enough, Laurie has helped my daughter make a career choice that she is actually fairly excited about—as much excitement as a cool 16-year-old is willing to show, that is…!

Laurie truly wants her teen clients to find what they’re suited for and can be happy doing for years. I was very impressed with how much time and individualized attention she gave us through this process to make that happen.

But it’s not all pie-in-the-sky, do-what-you-love-and-forget-reality thinking. Laurie says she wants kids to find their passion, “but with reason.” During her career counseling process, she makes sure kids understand the job outlook and predicted salary for whatever they are interested in, so that they will proceed along their chosen path with eyes wide open.

How does she do all of this?

My Ideal College’s Career Counseling Strategy

Laurie has FIVE total online sessions with the student. The first is an introductory session that lasts about 30 minutes; the remaining four are about an hour long each.

After the first session, the student completes an online assessment that is provided by Laurie and is highly regarded in the corporate environment. It surveys the student to determine their natural behavioral traits and then compares these traits to data about career performance and job satisfaction. The end result is a list of careers, each with a percentage evaluation which shows how well the job matches the teen’s inherent preferences. The higher the percentage, the more the job will be a good fit.

To prevent a bad day from shipwrecking the entire process or sending everyone down the wrong trail, the assessment also has a reliability score. This ensures that the teen isn’t making things up as they go along–which we all know they are capable of doing, LOL. If the kid’s answers seem very random, unrelated, or inconsistent, then the reliability percentage will be low—and Laurie will recommend that they take the assessment a second time. Phew!

Every session after the first one involves discussing different parts of the assessment’s results, researching careers, and finding colleges that have the majors(s) that have made it to the top slots in the selection process.

Part One: Evaluating Behavioral Traits

The evaluation of the teen’s individual behavioral traits can be a real eye-opener and a valuable piece of self-education for the teen. I would say that this is probably one of the largest advantages of taking this particular assessment and gaining Laurie’s experienced input about it. The assessment measures the student’s likes and dislikes, their interests, their preferred work environment, interpersonal skills, what motivates them, their decision-making, and their leadership skills. I was astounded at the level of detail and how each and every career then gets evaluated in the light of all of this information. It is fascinating! THIS is career counseling that will be effective for the long term!

Related Reading: College Preparation for the Homeschooled Teen: How You can be Sure You are Doing Enough

Laurie says that the exhibited traits don’t have to be the final determiner of job choice, but they do give an indication of what might be easiest and most enjoyable to pursue. However, it is possible to make a conscious decision to cultivate and improve traits that are lower than ideal for a job the teen might have interest in. So the teen becomes much more self-aware about what they naturally have to work with when it comes to succeeding in the workplace, and they learn what they might need to work on to pursue a particular career. This is super helpful stuff, y’all.

Related: How to Tell if College is the Best Option for Your Teen

(Can I just say that I wish I’d had the opportunity to have this type of assessment and career counseling when I was trying to pick a college major? Maybe I wouldn’t have changed it twice and ended up with a job after graduation that I really found no enjoyment in… sigh.)

Part Two: Evaluating Career Options

Laurie provides all the tools needed to take the results of the assessment and turn them into a viable career choice. She walks the student through the process of researching various careers to see how they fit the student’s traits, whether there is a need for people who do that type of job, and what the expected salary range could be. She also provides insight into why a given career was allotted a certain percentage, and what can be done to “fix” a choice that seems to have low potential for satisfaction.

In our case, my daughter’s top career recommendations were all manual labor. Again this is fine, totally fine — except that she really wants to go to college, play softball, get a degree, etc. So Laurie talked her through WHY the careers which require a degree were further down the list, and then they both got creative with brainstorming what types of careers could meet the benefits of manual labor while still requiring that college education.

Related Reading: How to Know What Your Teen NEEDS to Get Into College

Without the self-knowledge provided by the assessment, my daughter would have been flying blind about what to choose. Now she has a good idea of the types of jobs that would make her happy—and therefore successful.

Laurie also gives tips for how to find out more about the career, such as researching professional organizations—which could lead to identifying an individual that the teen can shadow for a day or interview over the phone or via email. Laurie even provides a list of questions the teen can ask. And even better, she often knows someone in a given career and will facilitate a contact with them! Woot!

Laurie’s background in corporate HR really adds to the depth of the interaction as she works with the teen to give them suggestions for ways to complete the process of selecting their major and start down the path of meeting their life goals.

Part Three: Evaluating Colleges

The next step is determining which colleges have the career/major that was decided upon. Laurie gives all the tools for this, too, so there is no time wasted fumbling around the internet. The teen does all the legwork during the sessions, so they will be able to continue on their own as needed.

Related Reading: The Truth about How to Look Good on College Applications

In fact, all of the sessions are with the teen only, except the last one, when the parent gets to sit in, too. It was exciting to see everything my daughter had learned and to hear the reasoning behind the choices she had made! There was no more “I dunno”—now there was a more confident teen who had a plan to pursue. Can you say “happy mom”?

Laurie does make herself available for questions even after the sessions are over, and the teen has access to the assessment results and can generate more reports for up to two years after taking it. I like that.

How you can get My Ideal College’s career counseling for your teen:

Laurie offers three levels of service:

1) There is a DIY package.

This is for those who just want to take the assessment and figure the rest out for themselves.

2) There is the one-on-one career counseling which we had.

I REALLY recommend this. I’m the type of person who will second-guess EVERYTHING, so having Laurie’s input to confirm or deny our thought processes was SUPER valuable. And then when our daughter’s results were so different from what we had anticipated they would be, it was so helpful to have Laurie’s knowledge and experience to draw from in our specific circumstance.

3) There is also a group session option.

Sign up for this if your co-op or group of friends wants to get together to run through the process and save money at the same time. You can see information about this option here: My Ideal College Group Coaching.

Go to the My Ideal College website to learn more! Tell ’em Annie sent you! :-) 

You can also find My Ideal College on Facebook and  Instagram.

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