Cal Newport, a professor of computer science at Georgetown and author of the book How to Win at College, has interviewed hundreds of students about their college experience. Based those interviews and observation of his own students, Newport believes that those who chose majors simply to please their parents are more likely to give up or burn out. ‘It’s just harder to weather the hard times if you don’t have the intrinsic motivation,’ he said. You might not expect college freshmen to understand that careers don’t proceed in straight lines, but surely their parents ought to. In the real world, most physics majors don’t become physicists, most psychology majors don’t become psychologists, and most English majors don’t become writers or teachers. You’ll find a surprising number of philosophy majors at hedge funds and lots of political-science majors at law firms. I was an American studies major. Among chief executives of the largest corporations, there are roughly as many engineers and liberal arts majors, in total, as there are undergraduate majors in business, accounting and economics combined. Indeed, one study found that only 27 percent of people have jobs that are substantially related to their college majors — a reality that applies even to the STEM fields. ‘Choosing a major is not choosing a career,’ says Jeff Selingo, author of There Is Life After College.

Meet the parents who won’t let their children study literature – The Washington Post. My experience suggests that college students are educable in these matters but their parents, by and large, are not.