3 answers

Should I go to college if I don't know what to do with what I've studied?


I'd like to go to community college and study business and psychology, but I'm not sure what I'd do with what I've learned. I don't like the idea of becoming a therapist of any kind or a business owner. I have no interest in going to a 4 year college unless what I want to do calls for it.

Is it okay if I go to college and study without an idea of what to do with that knowledge? Or should I try and figure out what I want to do?
#business #communitycollege #community-college #psychology

3 answers

Linda Ann’s Answer


Hi K.J. ,

Many young people are unsure about a career focus. And that is OK. As an FYI, 70-80 percent of college freshman change their major after the first year. So, you are not alone.

I would recommend enrolling in a community college for two reasons. First, you will minimize a cash outlay for tuition or getting yourself into significant debt; tuition tends to be very reasonable compared with 4-year institutions. Second, the community colleges with which I am familiar in the mid-Atlantic states have non-academic programs of study, e.g., carpentry, HVAC service technician courses, electrical, cooking and more! So, once enrolled, you will have an advisor with whom you can have some serious discussions about your future. Also, the Career Counseling Office at the community college many be able to administer some vocational assessments to you to help identify careers that may be a good fit for you.

Most psychologists are not therapists, by the way; only about one-third are therapists To become a therapist requires at least 9 years of educational preparation and licensing at the state in which you wish you practice. After completion of a bachelors degree, one must be admitted into a doctoral program (PhD or PsyD) and complete another 5 years of didactic courses, hands-on skills development courses and research...

Most persons who have completed a business degree do not open their own business. There are many opportunities to work either in the private, non-profit or government sectors with a business degree. This is again an opportunity to have a conversation with a Career Counselor at a community college.

I wish you the best in your career explorations.

Linda Ann recommends the following next steps:

  • Explore the various curriculum's at the community colleges in your geographic region. You can do this exploration online, of course!
  • Schedule an onsite visit with at least two community colleges after you have completed your online research. Ask about the type of career counseling that is available at the school. Ask specific questions about the non-academic programs of study that may have piqued your interest.
  • Sometimes you don't know what you like or don't like until you've actually taken a course or two in an academic discipline. What I am saying is this: you are still young: explore the many possibilities before making up your mind. EXPERIMENT. There's nothing worse then committing four or more years of study to a discipline to find that you don't really like it...but you stuck with it because of the income it provides to you OR because you were pressured by friends or family to invest in a particular career.
  • In today's world, you will need well developed oral and written communication skills in almost any career. So, be sure to take coursework to improve your skills in these two areas.

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas


This is an interesting question! If you believe that college is a financial investment in your career, and you should go to school only if your career requires it (as you somewhat hint at when you say you don't want to go to a 4 yr course unless necessary), then, no, you should not go to college unless you plan to "use" it.

I personally believe in the pursuit of knowledge, simply for the sake of knowledge and learning, and would in fact encourage you to go for the 4 year degree, even if you don't know how you plan to use it, if you enjoy learning, and, have the financial means to do so.

It used to be that a 2 yr degree would suffice for many jobs. I have noticed over the last few years that is no longer the case - the job requires either HS or 4 yrs of college - very little in between.

If you are going to go, I would encourage you to challenge yourself. Take classes with professors who have a reputation for being demanding, don't just go so you can say you went. Try to take courses that would satisfy the general education requirements of a 4 yr degree, along with some electives. Also, there is a difference between the level of performance required of students in junior college vs. 4 yr. college, generally speaking.

Although I went to college with no particular career in mind, I did so because I recognized that my HS education had failed to teach me critical thinking skills. I took a mix of sociology and political science classes, and definitely learned to do research and writing! I went into law enforcement, and made it my career. I used my college skills and knowledge to work on labor organizing efforts, along with pay raise and budget proposals. I was able to meet with top city leaders and present my information in a professional manner.

Much will depend on how you plan to finance your education. The cost of schooling has risen dramatically, and, it is not normally perceived as a prudent move to be over $80,000 in debt for education if you are not going to recoup some of that money through employment.

However, as you can see from how I used my education, a good general liberal arts education, or business education, will be marketable in many ways you can't even begin to imagine. So, in that regard, education is always going to be put to use!

I hope this has helps you to think this through a little bit better!


Shirley’s Answer


Yes, having a degree will help advance your career. I did not know what path I was taking when going to a community college so I took classes that interested me and completed my AS degree. I went on to pursue my BS in Info Systems and now work in Corporate Social Responsibility. Having a degree definitely helped me along my path to a career I love.

Shirley recommends the following next steps:

  • Pursue a job that covers full or partial tuition like AT&T.