One of the first things I noticed when looking at the earnings graph is the fact that while Chemical Engineering has the highest potential earnings, many in careers that are at least considered less profitable than it will make as much money as the average chemical engineer. Another important detail is the fact that this graph shows that even though there are some people in certain careers like forms of engineering that will make more money in their lifetime, many of those Engineers will still make similar amounts of money when compared to other careers like Liberal Arts, Political Science, and History. This graph also shows that career earnings vary far more above the median than below it, which shows that a student looking to go into a career is more likely to do better than the average than worse than it. With this information in mind, one can conclude that a student going into Accounting is very likely to make just as much money as a Chemical Engineer, showing that even though many might see Chemical Engineering as more profitable than Accounting, it is not necessarily the case. The implications of the article following the graph has for students is that it helps address the issues with myths surrounding colleges and majors. This is very helpful in that it helps show students that based on statistical information, to be more comfortable with picking their specific career path and what to set their goals on. Based on all this information, I still have not changed my mind on what career I will pursue after high school.
The first thing I notice about this graph is that it goes from the lowest career earnings(education) to the highest career earnings(chemical engineering). I also notice that some of the most high paying careers have to do with science and math. I wonder why some of these majors earn more than some majors. For example, I wonder why physics earns more than business or why computer science earns more than nursing. I wonder about this because I always thought some of these majors would pay more than others. According to the graph, some of the lowest career earnings are education, social work, and humanities. Some of the highest career earnings are electrical engineering, economics, and chemical engineering. The graph also states that career earnings mostly vary above the median which implies that even though you have a low paying career field, you can still earn as much money as high paying career fields. Hence, the text next to the graph in the article that says, “low paying make as much over their lifetimes as those in high-paying fields.”
The article further proves this by saying an “English major in the 60th percentile makes $2.76 million in a lifetime, a major in psychology $2.57 million and a history major $2.64 million.” The article also explains that college students who pursue majors in low paying fields land good jobs because their networks help them. The article shows that students who are about to enter college can choose a major that is low paying and still earn as much money as a high paying job. If someone wants to major in liberal arts, it is NOT true that liberal arts majors are unemployable because “degrees in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics in jobs as diverse as sales, finance, and market research.” It’s important to just stick with whatever major that truly interests you. It doesn’t matter if it’s considered a low paying major or a high paying major, what’s important is that you pursue something you love learning about. Personally, this doesn’t change my decision on what to study, but the information from the graph and article is something I will definitely keep in mind.
The graph describes the projected career earnings for college graduates in various majors with education majors typically earning the least while chemical engineering majors generally earn the most on the list. This first thing I noticed when looking at this graph was how little pay difference there really is between the majors they have chosen to list. This trend lines up with the information in the article: “When you put business graduates side by side with those who graduated with what are considered low-paying majors, you’ll see that those who are slightly above the median salary in their fields are not that far behind the business grads.” Another thing that stuck out to me was how broad the majors seem. For example, liberal arts is listed but under the category of liberal arts are many more focuses and majors such as history, sociology and philosophy.
As someone who has always been more interested in the arts I have always been told that I would never be able to make much money if I followed a career path involving dance, theater, or even journalism. The myths debunked in this article could help a lot of students (like me) feel more confident in their ideal choices of majors. Many people are driven away from majors they are passionate about because they are ridiculed for being low-paying or “unemployable.” Myths like these are spread by politicians such as Matt Bevin who said, “If you’re studying interpretive dance, God bless you, but there’s not a lot of jobs right now in America looking for people with that as a skill set.” He may be right that there are not a lot of jobs for interpretive dance but that does not mean that the skill set is useless or unfit for the workplace. These myths are harmful to young students deciding what they want to study and all they do is further contribute to the idea that we all need to know exactly what we are going to do with our lives before we have even experienced anything beyond high school.
The graph of projected career earnings for college graduates based on major, as well as the article, show that pay rankings above the median vary greatly. Even if graduates in fields perceived to be low-paying make as much over their lifetime as students in high-paying fields, we see that elite colleges offer students more opportunities for professional networking leading them to land higher-paying jobs. Elite institutions perpetuate the concentration of wealth in a handful of families, which isn’t to say that they’ve also benefited lower-income students as well.
I found the solution of “meta-majors” intriguing, especially since nearly 30% of students switch majors at least once. While some students may be set on a major in their senior year of high school, it’s unfair to expect students to decide what their future career prospects will be dictated by with so little information. Dr. Timothy Renick, who works at Georgia State University as a vice provost and enrollment manager, argues that meta-majors allow students to make more informed decisions about their majors and future career prospects. Also, a switch in majors is more likely to harm financially needy students, while students at elite schools don’t have to worry about the cost of attending an extra semester or even double-majoring. Richard N. Pitt, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University argues for double-majoring, “Complementary majors with overlapping requirements are easier to juggle, but two unrelated majors probably yield bigger gains in the job market…It increases your breadth of knowledge.” Once again, illustrating the need for student loan forgiveness as financially needy students often have to work, making them less likely to have the time to double-major (concentrations of wealth begin sooner than we expect).
The first thing that I noticed about the graph was the lowest and highest career earnings out of the college majors, education and chemical engineering. After my first impression of the graph I looked closer at which of the college majors made the most money and I found that most of them were heavily involved in math and science. Another thing that caught my eye was that as the graph descended the range of career earnings increased starting at a range of about $2 million for education to about $3.5 million for chemical engineering. The college majors with the greatest potential to earn large amounts of money also had the chance to earn far lower amounts. Also, the ranges varied more above the median than below the median so there are some people at the top of their fields making more money than the average person who shares their college major. After reading the article and observing the graph it seems to me that the STEM majors are the best bet to make good money if you have the skills to excel in that type of work. That doesn’t mean not to chose other college majors because if you really enjoy the work of another career choice then if you work hard to can make at least close to the averages of the other majors. When looking at what major to choose before entering college it is important to think about what work you will enjoy doing because you will be doing it for a large portion of you life. It is also important to know how much your college major can expect to make because happiness and fulfillment can’t fill your plate or pay the rent.
As a Junior who is planning on going to college next year, it was fascinating to hear about some of these common myths about majors be debunked. Something that caught my eye right away about the graph was that even people in the lowest-paying careers had the potential to make a lot of money. I think this is an important factor to keep in mind when considering whether to choose a major that generally leads to a more successful career or a major that you think you will actually enjoy. One example of this is addressed in the article in myth #1 which talks about careers in STEM and how variable careers in this area can be. As seen by the graph jobs in STEM are generally high paying, but can also vary more than any other group. Another thing that interested me was myth #4 about liberal arts colleges, I was aware that in the past liberal arts colleges had been frowned upon by people who held more traditional beliefs about education, but I was not aware that these colleges were ridiculed so harshly by politicians in today’s world because if anything I think liberal arts colleges are actually on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to colleges nowadays. In the article, I also was intrigued by colleges like Arizona State University, Georgia State University, and Lehman College which have strayed away from traditional ideas and decided to use a system called “meta majors.” This system allows students to choose a very broad subject on their application so that they do not get confined to a certain major before they have time to figure out what they like. I think this new system is very intuitive and I think it would help ease tension for students who are worried they will choose the wrong major.
When I first look at this graph, the first thing I notice is how it’s graphed by median projected career earnings for college graduates, instead of highest career earnings, or lowest earnings. That makes it more interesting to me because it focuses on the median pay instead of the mean or average pay. I wonder if this graph actually makes people rethink their career choices–even though what I want to study and have as my future career doesn’t make the most money possible, this graph wouldn’t make me rethink it for a second. If you’re passionate about something and can survive off the money you make, you shouldn’t be persuaded by things like this. I’d rather die happy and poor than rich and sad.
The college majors that tend to have the most career earnings are different engineering types, economics, and different mathematics majors. The ones with the least earnings are education and social work, both of which don’t surprise me but make me sad because both of those career choices are something that is needed. Career earnings vary more above the median, which implies that you can still make a decent amount of money even if the median earnings for your career are low. The additional article that we read just confirms that point: you can still make a good amount of money even if you have a career choice that doesn’t make the highest earnings–English or history were the examples the article gave. Students who are entering college and read an article like this might think twice about their school selection, and the amount of freedom and guidance they have with each school. Once again for me, this wouldn’t change anything at all because I will continue to pursue what I love despite the fact that it will probably never make me a millionaire. Money isn’t everything, after all.
It is unbelievable in my mind that education is such a HUGE part of anyone’s life, yet anyone that majors in any form of education get paid the least out of all of the other careers on this graph. Along with this, most of the least paid jobs are the ones that are some that are crucial to having a safe environment (criminal justice, social work, liberal arts) or understanding (education, humanities, philosophy). I may simply be oblivious or not done enough research, but I have never met anyone that has even mentioned chemical engineering, so I am not too sure why they have to get paid so much and why their careers are simply getting paid more than anyone that has a career in education. After having read the article, I began to understand the graph a little more with one understanding the majors that they are getting into without exploring all of the options in careers that they could pursue with that major. On a side not, I found it interesting that women make up the majority of the lower paying jobs yet make up 56% of college campuses. This article allows incoming college students to truly have an understanding on what careers you can go into with your major, not having to go to college with a selected major, liberal arts isn’t a bad choice, etc. In the article it reads, “The long-held belief by parents and students that liberal arts graduates are unemployable ignores the reality of the modern economy, where jobs require a mix of skills not easily packaged in a college major, said George Anders…” Being someone that wants to go into a liberal arts program, this definitely brought me some comfort in knowing that there are more options than those presented.
When looking at the graph I notice that many majors have a similar payout. This is interesting because for most of my life I have been told to stay away from certain jobs because of money and the stereotypes are not always true. The graph also states that “Many graduates in fields perceived as low paying make as much over their lifetimes as those in high paying fields”. This was good to hear since one of my concerns when looking for a career is definitely money. I notice from in the graph that most of the low paying jobs have to do with education or creative arts while the high paying jobs are more along the lines of nursing and engineering. Career earnings appear to vary above the median which suggests that there is more money flowing into those jobs. Finding a major can be very difficult, especially when you are still figuring out what interests you. The article shows that some schools have found solutions to this problem and have tried to make it easier on students so that they can find out what they want without having to switch their major and set them back a “semester or two”. A good way to go seems to be STEM when looking for the jobs that give out big bucks. Interestingly, women seem to be the majority at colleges today and are often most likely to graduate, but often have the hardest time finding a major. This statistic makes me feel not so alone in being clueless about what I want to do with my life.
The graph below shows the projected career earnings college graduates would make from their chosen major. A college student majoring in the field of education would make less than students of other majors, while chemical engineering students would still make the most. I notice that the majors that focus on the arts earn less than the majors that revolve around math and science. Studying the graph a bit more, I’ve noticed that students who earn themselves a typical job in their major only make a little less than the median. Quoting Professor Webber, “… they have a poor sense of the magnitude of the differences within the major.” Although career earnings vary exponentially between one another, they aren’t all that different; they are quite relative. A quarter of the top most earners that have majored in English make the highest amount of earnings in their field, but would considerably make the lowest amount in a STEM job.
Seeing this graph and reading the article has given me some more thought about what I am considering on majoring in college. I feel set-in-stone with my plans and the path I am heading for. Because what I am majoring will be suitable for me, I feel that it will be exciting, but reflecting off the graph, I will probably place in the lower half of the pay scale of career earnings. Some implications this might have for college-bound students are reconsidering their major. Students may have a passion for a certain major, but they might realize that it won’t pay off as much as they’d expect. Lastly they might get a different job other than what they pursued in college because it affects the pay.