I’ll never forget my first college seminar. Prominent guest speakers filled our freshmen heads with dreams of the life of the mind. Phrases such as “Graduate school is where you get your job training” and “Your undergraduate years should be focused solely on building critical thinking skills”…“If you enjoy philosophy then that should be your major” were also prominent. I haven’t been back to my alma mater in quite some time, but I sincerely hope they don’t still tell this to freshmen. Yes, your college years should be an enriching time where you learn self-discipline, how to analyze and interpret new information, and a million other wonderful things. However, we need to be honest. As Georgetown’s latest study on the subject confirms, not all degrees are created equal.
First, you have to ask yourself if college is worth it. The Georgetown study “Hard Times: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal” has some pretty convincing evidence it is – full research HERE.
“A Bachelor’s degree is one of the best weapons a job seeker can wield in the fight for employment and earnings. And staying on campus to earn a graduate degree provides safe shelter from the immediate economic storm, and will pay off with greater employability and earnings once the graduate enters the labor market.
Unemployment for students with new Bachelor’s degrees is an unacceptable 8.9 percent, but it’s a catastrophic 22.9 percent for job seekers with a recent high school diploma—and an almost unthinkable 31.5 percent for recent high school dropouts.”
But, pay attention here – your major and work related experience during college matter. From “Hard Times” – full research HERE:
“The risk of unemployment among recent college graduates depends on their major. The unemployment rate for recent graduates is highest in Architecture (13.9 percent) because of the collapse of the construction and home building industry in the recession. Unemployment rates are generally higher in non-technical majors, such as the Arts (11.1 percent), Humanities and Liberal Arts (9.4 percent), Social Science (8.9 percent), and Law and Public Policy (8.1 percent).”
This is what you will likely earn whether or not you have a graduate degree, hold a college degree with experience or fresh out of college.
You need to as yourself these questions.
Yes, college can be one of the best experiences of your life. But, if you don’t choose your major wisely, you chances of leveraging that degree for a better paying job and true career path aren’t so great right now. You can still study that subject you love and won’t get you a job, but I suggest you keep it as a minor.
Reuters interviews the director of the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce that put this together – article HERE:
Anthony Carnevale, the center’s director, explains why students need to pay attention to their earnings potential when picking a major.
Q: Why is it important to get a college degree?
A: Access to college is what distinguishes the middle class from low-income Americans. People with at least some college education stay in the middle class or move up.
Over the next decade, there will be 31 million job openings that will require at least some form of education – 9 million newly created jobs along with 22 million jobs from baby boomers who are retiring. Roughly two-thirds of those jobs will require some form of education or formal training beyond high school.
Make it worth it – Americans now owe more to student loans than they do credit cards or mortgages with over $1 trillion in debts. (source)
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