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Which Schools Have the Best ROI for Your Major?


When it comes to picking a major, earning potential is only part of the picture. After all, if you’re a born English major, forcing yourself into a STEM field is more a recipe for discomfort than a guarantee of riches down the line. Once you know what you want to study, you’ll need to find the school whose graduates in that concentration find the most success after graduation.

college classroom 

(Photo Credit: velkr0/Flickr)

“I would advise a college-bound student not to assume that any specific major is the key to either career or life success,” says Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “It takes much more than a major to get a great education.”

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Schneider suggests, instead, that students look at how prospective schools organize their programs. Their perfect school will offer them the opportunity to develop real-world experience, sought-after skills, and a sense of larger purpose.

In PayScale’s College ROI Report, we’ve examined each area of study, from Arts and Humanities to Economics and Engineering.

You can further refine your selections by looking only at in-state, out-of-state, and private schools. There’s also an option to search for specific schools, if you already have a dream college or university in mind.

When considering majors, it might be worth it to look at a few runners-up, as well; The New York Times found that 80 percent of first-year students at Penn State, for example, changed majors at least once, and MSNBC spoke with at least one expert who estimated that 50 percent of students who choose a major will change it before graduation.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you pick a major or a school because of earning potential? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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