Picking a major isn’t just about pursuing what you’d like to study. That plays a part in your decision, of course, but you should also think about other considerations. For instance, do you want to attend graduate school? If so, you should consider what sort of undergraduate prerequisites may be required.
Additionally, one of the biggest factors you should consider is the average salary for someone in that profession and whether you can live comfortably and meet your financial obligations within that pay range. Significant disparities exist between majors and careers.
Below, you’ll find a chart with the majors that typically result in grossing the highest annual salaries.
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To show variety, the chart above does not display similar majors. However, those with some type of engineering degree consistently made the highest salaries, according to The Hamilton Project.
Keep in mind that while professionals with these degrees tend to earn the most, there’s more to career satisfaction than money. If you choose a job just for the financial payoff, but don’t enjoy it, you may find yourself switching careers or going back to school for additional training (at an additional cost).
Have a Plan to Pay Off Student Loans
Regardless of major, student loans are a reality that most college students face. No matter how large or small your loans, you should be starting to plan how you will pay them off before the first bill comes after graduation. This means exercising fiscal responsibility.
Don’t take out more in student loans than you need to pay for legitimate educational expenses and avoid running up credit card debt — no matter how tempted you may be to charge a spring break trip with friends. Take advantage of networking and career services offered on campus. Landing a summer internship that can lead to full-time employment immediately after college can help you pay down your debt quicker.
Embrace the Extracurriculars
Part of your investment in a college education is the experience you get on campus, so make the most of it. Never again in your life will you be surrounded by such diversity. From theater to culture to athletics to academics, the college world offers many activity options. Try as many of them as you can before you determine your favorites and devote your time to them.
Remember, you don’t need to be a future journalist to write for the school newspaper or a future singer to join an acapella group — but you can benefit from doing these things by gaining confidence and a broader world view.
Going to college is likely the biggest choice you’ve made in your life so far, and you deserve a pat on the back for getting there. It’s not easy to make it through the college interviews, applications and visits, not to mention keeping your grades up and taking standardized tests.