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Monday, May 10, 2010

Most profitable college majors

Here is an article about the most profitable college majors. It is good to see this kind of material discussed in the media because it is so rare. The general media and our politicians think and communicate that any college education is a worthwhile education.

But two things are not discussed. First, it matters whether one majors in engineering or in ethnomusicology. The first one lands the college graduate plenty of job offers at a good wage. The ethnomusicology graduate ends up waiting endlessly for a job offer that never arrives.

But this is only part of the cost versus benefit discussion that needs to be heard. If one is accepted at Harvard but instead decides to attend San Jose State to study electrical engineering, their career prospects are just as strong according to the data. In other words, historically the actual learning and characteristics of the college student are what matter - not the brand-name of the college. A graduate with an IQ of 120 and a degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Arizona is going to do pretty well - far better in fact than a student with an IQ of 120 and a degree in Sociology from Harvard. The Arizona all-in cost is perhaps $80,000 versus over $200,000 at Harvard.

But the biggest waste is when one spends $200,000 on an obscure degree from Harvard that is not in demand. Then you have the worst value - a high cost for a degree with little value.

Just because someone else is paying for the college education (your parents, a scholarship or the government) does not mean that this opportunity should be wasted. The atmosphere and friends developed at college are great but they are secondary to the job of creating graduates that are in demand.

1 comment:

Clarence Critchlow said...
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