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Our View: Freshmen: Choose your major wisely--and buckle down




A new crop of college graduates is entering the workforce. On their heels are a fresh crop of college freshmen. 


Freshmen, listen up. That crop of graduates, out there right now scrambling to find a decent job, are learning a lesson that we''ll teach you now. 


Chances are, you''re going to graduate with debt. The average college graduate enters the workforce owing about $27,000 in student loans, from both government and private sources. 


That compares to an average of about $14,000 in 1993. Students leave college today saddled with twice as much debt as they did only 20 years ago. 


That startling fact is included in a new study from George-town University that analyzed which degrees, specifically, pay the most money. We all know that a college degree means more earning power, but Georgetown parsed through new Census numbers, which include data on specific degrees for the first time. 


So, college freshmen: If you decided to major in petroleum engineering, from a financial point of view, you chose wisely. That degree has the highest earning power, according to the Georgetown study, with majors pulling in $120,000 on average. They''ll have the easiest time repaying their $27,000 debt. 


If you chose to major in psychology, you may need counseling. Psychology and counseling majors have the worst earning power, bringing in $29,000 annually, on average. They''ll have the hardest time repaying their $27,000. 


Joining those psych majors in the rear are education and arts majors. 


Remember these numbers, freshmen. Choose wisely. Right now, most of you are more concerned with which social club, fraternity or sorority you''re going to join, than which job you''re going to do when it''s time to join the workforce. 


The last thing you''re thinking about is how you''re going to repay your student loan debt. 


We''re not suggesting that every college student can or should aspire to be a petroleum engineer. Far from it. College also offers students an opportunity to find their bliss, if you will; to seek a field for which they are well suited, will offer fulfillment and (we hope) provide a livelihood. 


Whatever you major in, remember this: A college education is worth it. All college graduates, on average, have higher earning power than those without a four-year degree. 


We just ask you -- we implore you -- to reflect seriously on what you want to do the rest of your life, because the rest of your life starts right now. Choose your major wisely. Then, buckle down, and treat your college career like the job that it is. You don''t realize it now, but your future depends on this. 


Many recent graduates, just four years older but many years wiser, wish they''d learned that lesson sooner.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 5/27/2011 5:27:00 AM:


While you're at it, tell them to NEVER take out a private loan. NEVER EVER!!!

While Govt. loans have certain perks about them, private loans do not, and it is that "not" that will wreck you financially for years to come.

Also, just don't even bother with a loan period if it is at all possible. Sure it's nice to have that check each semester, but you are digging a hole in the ground that will follow you everywhere you go.

And be very careful about where you go to college. Most of them ("hello MUW") will lie to you about how wonderful your education from their beloved halls will be. Face it, if they said "we suck" you probably wouldn't go there so they lie to you. That's what education and big business has become in this country: lies.

And finally, pay the author of this silly article no attention. You don't go to college and major in a field FOR MONEY unless you are as shallow and superficial as the person above. You major in a field because that is what you enjoy. It is what keeps you up at night thinking about it, it's what you live and breath, it is your passion.

If you enter a field purely for money, you will end up with money and the nagging thought of what might have been had you not sold yourself for a dollar.


Article Comment commonsenseincolumbus commented at 5/27/2011 4:06:00 PM:

roscoe, it may help graduates to know what career path allowed you to sit at a computer all day and spew garbage.


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 5/27/2011 5:01:00 PM:

It's the one that trained me to be the 24/7 caregiver to a senior citizen who suffers from Dementia among other illnesses. We're both lucky it worked out this way, her needing constant care, and myself having made enough money since graduation to be able to afford to donate my time and skills to her free of charge.

Otherwise, she'd be in one of these pathetic excuses for a nursing home we have in this area being subjected to abuses, theft from nurse aides, and being over-charged for minimal services... you know, the typical corporate run nursing home staffed by people, well, like you.


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