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Should I choose a practical major instead of a liberal arts one?

I've read reports that certain majors tend to earn more than others. Being wealthy isn't my main priority, but I do not want to be saddled with a lot of debt and no means to pay it off.

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10 Answers

3

Doug Brent

My view is that you should just "own" both sides of this decision - both your passion about what you want to study, and the career/financial implications of the decision you make.

I've seen many early 20-somethings who backed into a liberal arts degree who were later surprised that the job prospects weren't as strong for their engineering or business counterparts.

If you want to be a musician or elementary teacher - great!!! But know, you won't make the $80K starting salary of a software engineer.

Happy to talk with you further if you have questions.

Answered 3 years ago

Doug Brent
2

Mary Peacock

In college, navigating through all the possible majors seemed over-whelming to me. It felt like I was having to pin my entire life down to one job for the rest of my life. I loved philosophy and theater, geology, chemistry, religion, you name it - I took a class in it. Ultimately I realized that a practical degree didn't stop me from learning the rest of my life - it enabled it. I settled on a degree (Chemical Engineering) because it offered me a job that had flexible career opportunities to meet my need for change and diversity. It also has a reliable income to enable to me to travel, read, take up hobbies, join book clubs. I am a life student without the poverty of a someone who never graduates or who chooses a field that doesn't support them financially.
I encourage you to weigh the Investment of college against the Return of the average pay of the job you are looking for. In business we call that the Return on Investment (ROI). You don't have to become a millionaire, but it is good to get enough of a salary to be confidently self sufficient. Then you can continue pursuing your liberal arts education maybe formally - maybe not - but either way you can continue to learn without the angst of financial stress.
Best of luck to you!

Answered 3 years ago

Mary Peacock
2

Elizabeth Lehto

Do what you love. I've talked to many students both on this website and when I was a peer mentor in college who majored in pre med or engineering because mommy or daddy said they had to. I know it's not quite the same as what you are asking, but the end result is. None of them were happy, many ended up changing majors or taking a break from college to decide what they really wanted to do.

You said being wealthy isn't a main priority, so forget about money for a minute. Instead make a list. What are you passionate about? What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning? What could you see yourself doing every day for the rest of your life? Not a job per say, but an activity. Once you figure out what you want to do with your life then you can start thinking about what job would help you do that, and from there you can start worrying about degree will help you out the most.

Keep in mind, at the end of the day it's not what major you choose that determines how successful you are and how much money you make, it's how much work you put into your schooling, your job, and most importantly, yourself.

Answered 3 years ago

Elizabeth Lehto
0

Adrienne Marielle Argueza

It's important to remember that your major does not ever completely determine what your life is going to turn out like. In my experience in journalism and media, my English Degree really gave me a foundation, but I got jobs and internships because of my skills. As long as you are acquiring skills that are useful and relevant in any workplace, with hard work and confidence, those skills plus experience will be just as marketable.

For me, I learned how to do basic code (java, html, etc.), learned three languages, and engrossed myself practicing with all the Adobe Suite products, and those skills, along with my foundation in English (essentially reading and editing very well), has more so expanded my professional opportunities rather than limit them.

But it also depends on what you see as "practical."

Answered 1 year ago

Adrienne Marielle Argueza
0

CJ Tracy

Yes!!! Unless you have a family that would be willing you help you out extensively (help pay day-to-day living expenses, buy you a car, help with down payment for house, wedding, etc.)
Many science/technology majors will in no way make you rich, but will allow you to pay your bills and actually get a job.

I had many interests as an undergrad (philosophy, psychology, physics, environmental science, social work, and fine art to name the top ones) and I went with the hardest major I could handle because I knew I had no one but myself to fall back on in life.

Answered 3 years ago

CJ Tracy
0

Umayr Khan

It all comes down to how you proceed with the goals you have set for yourself. You have to consider your passion because if you do not enjoy what you do, you will be miserable doing anything. At the same time, you need to think strategically about financial stability that you want for yourself in five years from now. If you enjoy what you do and are crazy about it to the extent that you want to be the best in what you do, you will not have to worry about money. Money is a by-product of a combination of our goals, plan of action and determination.

Please reach out to me for any further questions.

Answered 3 years ago

Umayr Khan
0

Omar Davila

How about both. There are many degrees that pair well with ones interests. Perhaps, balancing a career that goes well with liberal arts might be a good decision. One path I have seen is teaching. Many liberal art mayors feel that going after their interest might not help them pay their students loans but teaching does offer great benefits that aloud free time to practice ones passions.

Answered 3 years ago

Omar Davila
0

John Kunney

Who said that a liberal arts degree isn't practical? A liberal arts degree is very valuable in today s job market and it will definitely give you many options to choose from on where you want to start your career . It provides you with tangible, practical skills that employers value highly and that will never be obsolete. They include:

-analytical and knowledge-building skills;
-evaluative and critical thinking skills;
-creative thinking skills;
-effective oral and written communication skills;
-critical and reflective reading skills;
-problem solving and pattern intelligence skills;
-numerical skills;
-synthesis skills and the ability to express the results of analysis and evaluation;
-the ability to pose meaningful questions that advance understanding and knowledge;
-the ability to conduct research and organize material effectively;
-information literacy and other skills associated with learning how to learn;
- the exercise of independent judgment and ethical decision-making;
- the ability to meet goals, manage time, and complete a project successfully;
-self-confidence and self-understanding;
- the ability to cooperate with others and work in teams;
-a sensitivity to individuals and tolerance of cultural differences;
-the ability to use equipment; and
-an informed openness to new information technologies.

I should know, I majored in English and it has definitely led to a very prosperous and enjoyable career. I'm a freelance technical writer presently writing manuals for some of the most sophisticated products. I don't know who told you different, but for me it is more than a practical major.

Answered 3 years ago

John Kunney
-1

John Kunney

No merit? I see. By the way I think you meant to write "two" instead of "too" Mrs. Barclay.

Answered 3 years ago

John Kunney
-2

Gaye Barclay

Yes. Choose a practical major like biology or business. Liberal arts and Psych are too that really hold no merit.

Answered 3 years ago

Gaye Barclay