Changing your major can change your financial future
This is major.
By some estimates, half or more of college students change their major at least once. But that could have a negative impact on your earnings. People who switch their major in college often end up making less than those who stay the course, according to new research from college resource CollegeStats.org, which surveyed 1,000 college graduates ages 22 to 67.
Indeed, nearly one in 10 people who did not switch their college major are now making more than $75,000 a year, compared to just 2.5% of people who did switch majors. And 65% of those who did not switch their major are in upper or middle management or other professional jobs, compared to 35% who did.
The reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, but it could be that people who are undecided in college remain that way in their careers and end up hopping around to many different fields.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be the case. Switch to one of the three highest-paying fields — STEM (science, tech, engineering and math), health and business — and your earnings will likley average $65,000 or more as you get more experience, according to data from Georgetown University.
It can also help, if you do change your major, to make sure you still graduate on time. After all, paying down more student debt eats into your take home pay. And one study found that students who graduate in four years, as compared to six years, spend 40% less.
But perhaps most importantly, if you do want to switch, listen to what you think you want do do. The CollegeStats survey showed that nearly 42% of college grads who say they listed to themselves — versus parents, guidance counselors or others — when choosing their major say they are happy with how much they made post-graduation. Meanwhile, just about 10% of those who listened to their parents say the same.
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