ROI

I recently read an excellent article at salary.com for college students (and their parents) who are struggling to choose their major.

If you are still in the process of choosing a college, you should probably have your major figured out before you sign on the dotted line. Each year at a college or university is going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars, and that debt can really cut into your quality of life if the job you get upon graduation (assuming you can get a job) has a relatively low salary. It may force you to delay marriage or starting a family, or worse, cripple you financially for the rest of your life.

The salary.com article focuses on the concept of “ROI” or “Return on Investment”. If you don’t know what this is, read the wiki. Short version: How much money will I get if I invest “x” dollars in a college education?. It had better be bigger than “x”

The article is a bit more negative than I’d like in that it focuses on “bad” majors rather than “good” ones. But if money is an object for you (or your college-aged child), I highly recommend reading it. I think it’s more constructive to apply the methodology to “good” majors to select the one that can meet your desires for the future (e.g. location, type of home you want, marriage or the decision to have kids or not, or how many!).

Many people say that what’s important is that you have a job you like. I say you will like the job that you can do well. Just be honest with yourself about what you can do, and choose wisely so that you can reach your personal goals beyond what your title will be when you graduate! Good luck!