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Which Major ?

  1. Mar 10, 2004 #1
    Hi, I'm a grade 12 high school student who is planning on a post-secondary education in a Math or Science field (after another year of high school). I'm not exactly great at the stuff, I just don't want a job where I have to deal with too many people all day. :P
    I'm a decent student, my grades seem to average around 80%, the exception being my 50's in English (because I don't go) and my 95%+ in Programming and Comm Tech (Comm Tech is the course where you waste 75 minutes/day making Flash animations). All my Math marks seem to hover around 75-80% and my Science marks seem to fall into the 80-85% range.
    To say that I am motivated would be, well, a damn lie. I don't do homework and I only briefly review for tests, but I manage my somewhat decent marks.
    My only real hobby is making little web-games and sites (esp. in Flash), but I don't have the art skills to go into design and I probably don't have what it takes to be a real programmer.
    Although I have been bombarded with "You should go into Engineering" by parents, friends, etc., I'm not exactly sure of which path I would like to travel, in terms of education.
    I was hoping that all you college/university students could let me in on what your majors are and what they entail, or what course you think someone like me would do well in. I would also like to know if an 80% average would cut it to get into the programs, or if I'm f*cked. I don't care if it is a 2-year College setup or if I'd be spending 7 years rotting in University, whether it's a well-known field or some unheard-of major, I just want information on my options.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2004 #2


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    Right now I'm in first year engineering, but next year I'll be going into chemistry.

    Marks are basically not an issue when looking at a future major. How you will do is based entirely on how interested you are. In highschool, my marks were pretty good; I had 84 in math, 86 in physics, 96 in chem (which I got an award for ).
    In the first semester of engineering, when I was very serious about passing, my marks were awesome. My final marks in math, electricity and physics were 94, 89, and 92 respectively.
    This semester, I lost all interest in engineering, and my marks are suffering because of it. I'm failing every single class except for chemistry and dynamics. Motivation tends to wane when there is just no interest in the work being done.

    From what you say, you would do well in a profession dealing with computers. There is a problem with that though, tech is dead and the market is flooded with skilled workers. Basic entry levels jobs require a bachelor degree and sallaries are very low right now. Try to stay away from tech for the time being.

    Before you pick a major, make sure you know exactly where that will lead you. An associate degree in business will not get you a job as manager of some big company; you'll end up being the manager of 1 store, and you'll be disappointed by how much you are paid . Most chemistry jobs are in quality control and testing; research is not the norm. Engineering is not math all day; it's mostly CAD (which is incredibly boring).

    I can't tell you what class to take, but I can suggest which type of degree to aim for.
    I did a lot of research on what I was going to do after highschool and I found some interesting results.

    Start off with a 2 year associate degree first just to get your foot in the door and get some experience. Most professional jobs only require an associate degree, and because most educational institutions offering associate's degrees focus on learning practical information, companies actually prefer an associate degree over a bachelor degree when it comes to hiring guys with no experience at all. Although it's a bit ironic, many people with bachelor degrees have to get associate degrees before they can even get a job. Where I go to school, several of the guys already have a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering.
    Companies also prefer people with an associate degree because they don't have to be paid as much. Most states and provinces have a set of rules saying how much you can pay a professional based on what their degree is. A guy with an associate degree gets paid between x and y. A bachelor degree gets paid more. A master's degree gets paid more. A Ph.D. gets paid more.

    DO NOT get a master's degree or Ph.D. without getting work experience first. Because companies are required to pay more money to a guy with a Ph.D., most companies won't hire you because you have no experience. On top of that, you can't get experience because you can't get a job.

    Bachelor and associate degrees will basically get you the same job. Companies hire management from within the company, just because. When you get a job with a company, you either start at the bottom or you get a senior position based on how much experience you have. You can get senior positions with either an associate degree or a bachelor degree; it doesn't really matter. I've toured a lot of offices and plants and I notice that people with associate degrees work at the same jobs as people with bachelor degrees. The only difference is that the people with bachelor degrees get paid just a bit more, a very small amount more.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2004
  4. Mar 11, 2004 #3

    Hi ShawnD...
    I read ur post just when i had decided to start a new topic called CAREER... I'm currently doing act sci from university fo waterloo (first year coop) but the problem is i THINK i'm not interested in act sci and more interested in physics... i certainly can't take physics coz i'm convinced i won't end up in a good job. I'm currently thinking of switchin to system design engg... when you did your research, did you have anything on this? Please let me know coz i'm all so confused whether or not to switch... my priorities are a gr8 job (earning over CAN $150 grands within 8 years) coz i have soooo many expensive hobbies to take care of.... and then i also want to do something i really like... i'm having so much trouble balancing both of these....
    SO SOME! HELPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Mar 11, 2004 #4


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    I don't really know much about the job market in Ontario. All I can say is don't get your hopes up with dreams of a high sallary. $150k is a lot of money, most doctors don't even get paid that much.
  6. Mar 11, 2004 #5
    I've toured large, corporate offices in which the guy that gets paid the most money, and has the most power held a High School diploma.

    He made more money than the Vice Presidents.

    With a Bachelors, I believe you can become a research assistant.

    With a PhD, averages are $80,000+ US.

    The job market in Ontario is pretty strong. The best city economically in Canada is Calgary, Alberta. However, this is Canada we're talking about, and cities like Vancouver have horrid job oppurtunities.

    The average pay of all MDs is like $160,000.

    You're going to have to get higher grades than that.

    Or start off with a great College GPA, then enter Engineering school.
  7. Mar 11, 2004 #6
    karanrustagi: Good luck with finding a job that pays $150K/year, that's 'enjoyable' and allows you enough free time for your expensive hobbies. When you find that job, I'd appreciate it if you pointed me in that direction, too :P

    Dagenais: I know I need higher grades for engineering, and that's why I'm looking for alternatives that are math/science-based and may let a stupid idiot such as myself in.

    Thanks for the information, ShawnD. It was really appreciated.
    I'll be sure to look into associate degrees on my own. My father only went to college and trained as a stationary engineer (someone who theoretically knows about industrial boilers and stuff, but actually just watches TV all day while gettting double-pay for overtime) and he makes CDN$80K/year, so I realise that college can equal high pay.

    I have considered a career in programming but, like you said, the pay sucks, the hours are long, and there's a ton of people out there who would be better at it than me. Another problem with programming is that application coding is just plain boring and, if you look at the credits of any video game (the kind of coding that's fun), you'll notice there's about 80 graphic designers and only about 3 programmers -- and they're all Japanese.

    I don't really know any sources for information on careers and what education are required to get them, so if anyone has any information on any of that, it would be greatly appreciated.

    I would still like information on different university/college courses that you people are taking/have taken, especially the less-popular, more specialised ones. So, if you're reading this right now and are anywhere above high school, then help a misguided youth out and cough up some info.

    - Jeebuz
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2004
  8. Mar 11, 2004 #7
    Hey guys... thanks so much for the replies... i was thinking it'd take a zillion years for my post to be even be noticed and i ended with the reply in less than 6 hours from the people i was hoping wud reply... i'm gonna meet my academic advisor and see wut she's got to say about this. unfortunately she's busy so i gotta wait 4 i can b sure if engg. is rite for me....
    i heard act sci is a really gud field but so challenging tat it's got the least graduation rate.... but the pay offs are gr8 and upto my high hopes.... i really wish one day i cud have my own private plane... (i'll be the pilot ofcourse) ... a super huge basement that wud be a hangar for my rc model planes.... world tour each year (i'm crazy bout travelling to distant exotic places....) ohhhhhhh when will all this come true....
    even tho my sole purpose in life is to become an astronaut but i think i'm gonna b more practical and stop dreaming about htat coz i got a terrible vision to be an astonaut....
    wish me luck... i dream high... and tats how u start... dream and then turn them into reality....
  9. Mar 11, 2004 #8
    Don't let that discourage you!

    Have you seen Windows?! That thing is made like crap.

    And it has made billions upon billions and billions of dollars!

    The idea is more important.
  10. Mar 11, 2004 #9
    Whilst that is true, I'm looking for a realistic job that doesn't require excessive use of Evil to succeed in.

    A couple posts up you said that I would need to improve my marks to be accepted into an Engineering program. What kind of marks are required for that?
  11. Mar 11, 2004 #10


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    The tech school I'm at now only required a 65% average to get into engineering. Essentialy nobody under 80% in highschool actually made it past semester 1 though.
    The local university requires something like 82% to get into engineering.

    Just shoot for 85%. That will let you take almost any program anywhere.
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