How Your College Major Affects Your Brand

personal-brandQuick reaction: What do you think of someone when all you know is that the person majored in art history?

I’ve asked variations of this question to hundreds of Connecticut parents navigating the college process through the years. There is no right answer. But there are branding considerations that should be part of your child’s college major decision.

Art history? I’ve heard the following. Please note these are not my thoughts but just some of the answers that people have provided:

On the positive side: “interested in the arts” (of course!) including a likely interest in classical music, opera, theatre, and high culture. “Intellectual”, “interesting person”, and “creative” were some of the other clearly positive comments.

The most interesting and perhaps neutral connotation was “rich”. When asked why, the most common responses were that wealthy people are exposed to the arts at a young age and that only a rich person would choose something so impractical.

On the negative side: “impractical” and “spoiled (for the explanation, see “rich”, an apparently double edged sword) were the number 1 and 2 responses.

Accounting? On the positive side, “practical”, “business-minded”, “responsible”, “employable” and “professional” and many similar adjectives were the most common. On the other hand, “boring” was not only the most common negative response but also the most popular response overall.

The lesson: your college major is part of your brand.