How to Guide Your Teen in Choosing the Right College Degree in 2024

May 6, 2024 | Education

When a teenager is about to graduate high school, they will have the task of making one of the most important decisions that can affect their future.

Choosing a career to follow is daunting and overwhelming, as many believe that this decision will steer their course for the rest of their lives. However, there are several ways you can help your child make an educated decision that they will be happy about.

In this article, we explore the role of the parent in a child’s education and the different ways that you can assist with your child’s career decisions, as well as some of the options available to them.


Making crucial decisions about the future

Parents take on the majority of the responsibilities required to ensure that their child’s school experience is as smooth as possible. When a child gets to college-level education, the parents have to take a backseat as the responsibilities fall to their age-appropriate children. However, until they reach that stage, you as a parent can help them make a sound decision regarding the career path they can follow.

How school subjects play a role

When children start off in high school they tend to show proficiency in certain subjects, which can lead them to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes. These classes can carry more weight when it comes to your Grade Point Average (GPA) as opposed to regular classes in the same subject.

When a child shows natural talent in a subject, there is a higher chance that they enjoy working with it, this can lead to interest in a career in that field. This needs to be encouraged and explored when speaking with school guidance counselors. A good example would be your child showing proficiency in Biology, which can lead them to study a medical degree and go on to become an environmental scientist, nurse, or even a doctor.

Lean into interests

In the same way with proficiency in subjects, if your teenager shows interest in certain fields, they would be more likely to explore a career in relation to their interests.

Help them find fields that can play into their interests. For example, if your child enjoys creative writing, they can possibly take on a degree relating to technical writing and study towards careers like journalism, copywriting, or copyediting.


Degree options that have more career options

There are two types of degrees your teen can go with. A degree that hyperfocuses on a certain career path, or a degree that can open you up to multiple paths. The latter option gives your teen a little more room to work with, especially if they are undecided on what to choose.

Business Administration

This is a comprehensive degree that touches on several aspects relating to business such as accounting, finance, ethics, and entrepreneurship. There are online executive MBA courses that allow graduates to explore careers in leadership roles, business management, and analysis, among several others

Computer Science

This option provides both theoretic and practical knowledge about computers and computing. Students of this course will gain insight into algorithms, data structures, programming languages, artificial intelligence, and even cybersecurity. This opens doors to careers such as software developer, UX designer, or AI engineer – just to name a few.


This is an undergraduate degree that helps people branch off into more specific nursing paths. It covers topics such as anatomy, the basics of nursing, pharmacology, and nursing research. This degree opens successful candidates to follow more specialized nursing careers for different medical departments.


This is another comprehensive degree that touches on topics such as auditing, taxation, accounting information systems, and ethics. Candidates can go on to become accountants, auditors, and tax professionals in many different sectors including governmental levels. With additional certification, accountants can go on to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or Certified Management Accountants (CMAs)

Project Management

With this degree, students learn about risk management, project planning, and quality control, among various other topics, Candidates can branch off into a variety of industries including construction, healthcare, and information technology (IT) to name a few. They can hold positions such as a coordinator, scheduler, or analyst for projects.


Degrees with fewer career options

These offer degrees where the career paths have more of a narrow scope.

Cyber security

This degree deals with protecting computer systems, networks, and data from attacks. Topics they will learn about touches on ethical hacking, network security, and cryptography. Students can go on to become cybersecurity analysts or ethical hackers.


This degree deals with human thought behavior and emotions. Students will learn how to analyze how mental health, disorders, and social factors affect the well-being of a human. This can serve as a base for following a post-graduate online psychology degree that deals with more specialized career options.

Radiation Therapy

This degree helps students segue into more specialized radiology careers. Students gain insight into medical principles, disease treatment, and preventative health care. They can go on to become radiation therapists.

Culinary Arts

This associate’s degree provides students with insight into menu planning, sanitation, nutrition, and food preparation. This can open doors for them as chefs, cooks, or catering managers.


Another associate degree that sees graduates become aids to lawyers. They engage in topics such as drawing up legal documentation, research, administrative tasks, ethics, and analysis.


How to study

Your child may not want to study, but they should be encouraged as it will help them achieve success in the future. There are several ways of studying that can be suited to your child’s needs.

In classroom learning

This is where students need to present in class for lectures, examinations, presentations, etc. It is the most common form of tertiary education learning. It doesn’t allow for much flexibility but ensures students concentrate on their studying.

Distanced learning

This doesn’t require attending lessons on campus, but students tune into lessons daily and attend campus for important appointments. There are also options where students learn in their own stead and only attend campus for important appointments. This is suitable for students who have other priorities that prevent them from attending day-to-day lectures.

Learning while working

This can work hand-in-hand with distanced learning, as students can allocate time to focus on studying while working full-time. This usually provides smaller doses of learning and provides flexibility to manage both working and studying, however, the onus is on the student to remain positive and persevere.


It is never too late to learn

Life can get ahead of some people, but be sure to let your child know that the decision they make at this young age, while impactful, doesn’t have to dictate the rest of their lives.

While it will be a struggle and an effort, later in life people do take the plunge and make career transitions, but this requires reskilling and working harder, but the rewards if successful, will be worthwhile.

The bottom line

Choosing what degree to follow can be an overwhelming task for your teenager, but with the right guidance and interest from you the parent, you can help your child choose a career path that aligns with their interests and natural skills. You can also assist your child make a decision that allows room for growth and follow a way to study that will be beneficial for them.

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