People talk about high profile colleges like Stevens, Parsons, and MIT.  They talk about attending schools that specialize in very specific and high-paying majors.  But in early 2013, the Washington Post published stats that 27% of graduates go into fields that they actually studied at college.  That’s just over a quarter—one in four—which means three other fellows are working jobs that they don’t have a degree in. The fact of the matter is that the job market changes, you as a student change and so your professional pursuits shift as well.  So what do you do as a university student?

Get a solid foundation at a liberal arts college.

Here are two things to keep in mind as you select a college and begin a path toward a major or double major.

Cover your Bases and Develop Life Skills

It doesn’t matter if you’re a brain surgeon or a bus driver.  You’ll need to possess life skills in order to get ahead.  You’ll need to write well, speak well, and do things like math.  That said, students entering college should all consider taking more than the basic requirements for English, Math, and Science.  Add a business class for good measure and you’ll have some great projects to talk about in your future job interviews.

In these common core classes, you’ll learn how to use complex and compound sentences; create presentations on platforms like Prezi and Keynote; and learn the basics of orally-binding agreements in law.  It’ll all help develop your foundation as a well-rounded learner and worker.

Explore Challenging and New Majors

Liberal art schools like Nyack College will also showcase cutting edge majors that speak directly to the needs of today’s job market.  While you might want to tear out your hair at the thought of majoring in biology, just remember that medical and biomedical engineers clinch some of the highest salaries in the United States.

Now think technology.  Can you code?  Are you interested in game design?  If you challenge yourself to take two computer science classes, you might discover that not only are you good at computers but you actually like it too.   Computer science and design are not going anywhere.  Getting a good foundation in technology will set you apart from your peers who call themselves “computer jinxes”.

Still interested in other challenging classes?  Look into criminal justice, health care, and education.  When you think about it, the demand for people in these majors makes sense.  We live in a society that will always require police investigators, hospitals, and schools.

With today’s job market, undergrads are going after high-profile majors thinking they will sail right into their dream jobs and begin fabulous careers that they began to pursue as 17 year old seniors in high school.  This is still possible.  Undergraduate students can still begin a path that will land them right where they always want to be.  But it never hurts to keep keep your options open.

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