May 14, 2012

Almost Half of College Grads Wished They'd Picked a Different Major

Unfortunately lately the recent college grads are having a real tough time finding a job or at least a job in their field.  I think part of that is due to many grads having chosen majors that are not in high demand or in fields with keen competition.   It appears in hindsight that nearly half, 48%, of the college grads realize after the fact that they made a poor choice of major.   At least that was the findings in the report Unfulfilled Expectations: Recent College Graduates Struggle in a Troubled Economy   I assume a lot of that second guessing about choice of major is due to being shocked when the 'real world' doesn't fill their email inboxes with job offers.

Here's the full list of 'regrets' and what % of grads wished they'd done it differently : 

Been more careful about selecting major or chosen a different major 48%
Done more internships or worked part time  47%
Would have started looking for work much sooner while  still in college 38%
Would have taken more classes to prepare for college 27%
Would have gone to a different college 14%
Something else 9%
Would not have gone to college 4%

Notice that the 2nd item on the list at 47% is related to internships or more part time work.   I had that regret myself when I first graduated from college without any useful work experience.   The same study's data also shows that graduates with internships have 24% higher starting wages on average.  

I'm a little surprised that students didn't regret not having studied harder and partying less, but maybe they enjoyed the partying too much to regret it or maybe those regrets were filed into the 'something else' category.

Choice of major is huge and has a massive impact on your future career and employment prospects.   If you're going to college or know someone who's doing so then make sure to carefully research and consider the employment prospects of the field in question.



  1. This is an interesting study. Small sample size, though, and a pretty big margin of error. I'd like to see the results with a bigger sample, and more specific age categories. 28 year-olds might have a different opinion than 23 year-olds, given the wisdom of time and distance from their experience in college.

  2. Flexo : Yeah its not a particularly big sample. They say the margin of error is 4.5%. I agree that people a few years older may have different attitudes. THe 23 year olds may be more disgruntled right now given the tough job market.

  3. I should have gone into Oceanography or Marine Biology. I think I would have been more happy in those career, but who knows. The grass is always greener on the other side. How about you? Any regrets or second thought?


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