How Important is Your College Major?

Just like everything else in the world, college majors each have their own stereotypes. We assume that theatre majors will be working as waiters or waitresses for the rest of their lives, while engineering majors will be highly successful the minute the receive their diplomas. These stereotypes have the potential to influence our decision to pick a specific major. Adults will tell eighteen year olds that getting a tattoo is a bad idea because you’ll be stuck with it for life, yet they have no problem telling someone they need to pick a career that can stick with them forever. With all the pressure that is put on students to find a high paying job, it’s no surprise that majors like business and nursing are on the rise. However, does the major you pick in college really determine your success in adulthood?

Based on an article in The Washington Post, the answer is “no”; your major does not force you to be stuck in a certain career path for the rest of your life. The article explains that only twenty seven percent of college grads have a degree in their major, and “landing a job unrelated to your major isn’t necessarily the end of the world. Indeed, it’s the most common outcome by far.” This statistic is important, because it indicates that your major does not define your life after college. The majority of people are able to find jobs outside of their chosen field, so if you begin to regret obtaining that degree in photography, chances are you will still be able to find employment in another field.

It’s also important to note that picking a high-paying major does not always guarantee wealth. Although a student may feel pressured to select a high paying major, this should not be the main reason for picking a major. Forbes mentions that computer science, mathematics, and business are among the top ten highest paying starting salaries. However, if one were to look at a list of majors with the highest unemployment rates, these majors are towards the top of the list. While careers in the education field may not seem the most glamorous, it has one of the lowest unemployment rates. Although certain majors may pay more, they may not be ideal if there is little job security after graduation. Once students graduate college, student loan payments are mandatory six months later. If a student cannot afford these payments, they must delay the payments, or pay a smaller amount each month. As a result, the interest of said loans continues to increase, which will cost graduates even more money over time. Some may complain that teaching may not pay as well as a career in computer sciences, but having a job is better than no job at all, right?

Basically, don’t think you need to limit yourself. Your major in college may not determine how well you do later on in life, which can be bittersweet. Grads with a high paying major may be unable to find work, while those with doubts about their major can typically find a job outside of their chosen field. The best thing you can do for yourself? Keep getting involved and building your skill areas. A person who majored in History, wrote for the school paper, and worked in sales now has experience is several fields, thus creating more job opportunities. There are so many opportunities out there; don’t feel you’re stuck with one job for the next forty years because of the major you picked when you were eighteen.

This article was written by Kim Dilisio, a writer for dusk magazine. 


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