T Nation

Picking a College Major

Hey guys, I’ve been a T-Nation fan for like 4 years. I’m 16 now and a junior in high school, and I’ve decided I want to continue my love of athletics and go for it as a career. I’ve decided I wanted to focus more on the nutritional aspect of sports, but still want to make a good amount of money once I get older. Dieticians make around 150k a year, but I really want to be more of a Berardi-type nutritionist. Anyone know what kind of major/career to aim for?

Check out

http://princetonreview.com/college/research/majors/majorBasics.asp?majorID=81

The Princeton Review is a great site for showing you what’s out there as far as college majors go, that’s the link to the “Dietetics” major page, but there are links to similar majors.

You might have to register an email address, but don’t worry it’s free.

Site’s great for checking out colleges and checking to make sure you can study what you want at certain places.

Keep in mind many of the experts here get advanced degrees (like Dr. Berardi), so any solid pre-health major in your undergraduate years would work too.

Good Luck.

Most students change majors. Most people do not get a job in their field. Bio-chem might be a good area of study to start in.

Chasing money rather than your interests may not lead to great results. If any type of advanced degree is required, especially if it has a research requirement, you are better served with liking the topic than the money it might bring.

LOL I’m trying to go for money AND interests, and this is the closest to getting paid for doing something I love.

Then start with a general degree and get your university required classes out of the way and readdress your major your sophomore year. This will give you a better understanding of what offered throughout the university and let you focus on your interests those last two years.

Take AP courses or consider a community college course or two in the summer leading up to college if you want to maximize your freedom.

Take away point: start broad topically and then narrow in on a specific job.

Thanks for the advice so far.

seconded on the princeton review. great resource.

On picking majors:
Pick what you really are passionate about. But you have to be someone practical. Like someone said above, you may want to do something like bio-chem or biology then do grad work in a more specific area. On the flip side you could also do a major like exercise science or exercise physiology or physiology, then go to grad work from there.

It probably doesn’t matter all that much, in all reality.

I’ll be graduating in May with a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance and Music Business. I picked something I loved to do, and have never regretted it since. I also am able to work in the field I want to work in without a degree–I teach about 20 people a week currently. If you have a chance, get into some work that’s relevant to your major/career goal, it helps. AND looks good a resume.

Second the advice above, be practical. You can always minor in something you really like like me, I’m minoring in archeology haha.

Do what you can do best, which in most cases is what you already like.
You’ll finish faster,with higher grades and you might also enjoy the university.

Don’t pick Psych. Is the most ridiculous field that exists.

dietician’s seriously make 150k a year? If that’s true, I’ll eat my stainless steel coffee mug sitting right next to me. I’m sure guys in the field with a PhD make a large chunk of dough, but I seriously doubt it’s 150k.

[quote]deadleg wrote:
Don’t pick Psych. Is the most ridiculous field that exists. [/quote]

I second this. I only really dislike it because it claims to be a separate discipline from the other sciences. It’s essentially just a very specific branch of biology with a sociological component thrown in.

I went to Colorado State University and got my degree in Health and Exercise Science. Wow, I cannot even begin to tell you how fun this degree was. Advanced lifting classes, how fun is that. Way better than economics, marketing, etc.(In my humble opinion).

[quote]Epimetheus wrote:
dietician’s seriously make 150k a year? If that’s true, I’ll eat my stainless steel coffee mug sitting right next to me. I’m sure guys in the field with a PhD make a large chunk of dough, but I seriously doubt it’s 150k.[/quote]

I agree with this statement. To the OP, you should really check your numbers (www.salary.com), there is no way that dieticians are making 150k a year. Maybe an EXTREMELY SELECT FEW, but the median (most frequently occurring salary) I am sure isn’t even remotely close to that. If I am incorrect, my apologies, best of luck as a dietician.

A few thoughts to put it in perspective. In the US roughly 6% of the population makes above $96,000 (the social security tax salary max a couple years ago). Additionally, almost all of the large national/international law firms pay their associates 150k at best coming out of top tier law schools. And these associates are working probably double the amount of hours every week and generating substantially more revenue for their employer than dieticians. Finally, the population as a whole is aging and the majority of jobs upon graduation will probably be in the geriatric field (hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living, long term care facilities).

Just my thoughts, for what it is worth (which surely isn’t 150K)…

Double major - one hard science and either economics or something from the humanities. If you don’t have a major in the humanities, at least take a few course in which you’re required to write. And make sure to take statistics. Keep your grades up, with an eye toward grad school - your odds of getting into a good grad or professional program will depend a lot on your grades.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

Double major - one hard science and either economics or something from the humanities. If you don’t have a major in the humanities, at least take a few course in which you’re required to write. And make sure to take statistics. Keep your grades up, with an eye toward grad school - your odds of getting into a good grad or professional program will depend a lot on your grades. [/quote]

Just to dovetail on Boston’s point - major in whatever interests you, but don’t sleepwalk through the general education stuff. Not only do you need to get broadly educated, but if you are interested in competitive fields, your performance in gen-ed needs to help you, not hurt you.

I knew a girl in college interested in nursing, and nursing programs are competitive. She was passionate about nursing, loved the classes, loved the work, but thought gen-ed classes were just “space fillers” she had to muddle through until she got to stuff she really was passionate about.

Long story short - her mediocre performance in non-nursing classes sandbagged her chances of getting into competitive nursing programs, because they do take a holistic view of your entire academic record.

So do your best in biology, English, math - all of them. Don’t forfeit good opportunities in a field you are passionate about because of a failure to excel in gen-ed classes.

Best of luck.

Nobody ever mentions trades. What about electrician, carpenter, machinist, welder, etc? I don’t know if they are looked down on in the states, but up here they make up a large portion of the higher earnings bracket.

[quote]Epimetheus wrote:
deadleg wrote:
Don’t pick Psych. Is the most ridiculous field that exists.

I second this. I only really dislike it because it claims to be a separate discipline from the other sciences. It’s essentially just a very specific branch of biology with a sociological component thrown in. [/quote]

How do you figure?

I’d agree that psych sucks if you don’t plan to go to grad school, and none of the people I know that stopped after their BA or BSc are working in a related field (with one exception- my friend’s ex-girlfriend’s friend). But if you have the grades and ability to get into a good grad program, there are plenty of awesome options.

[quote]deadleg wrote:
Don’t pick Psych. Is the most ridiculous field that exists. [/quote]

sociology > psychology