Education Editorial: Choosing a college major


In a recent editorial about workforce preparation, it was stressed that college is not the single path to getting a good job. While the key is improving knowledge and skills, it doesn't always mean a degree. However, three Yale economists have recently reported that a college degree means more during a recession.

But stay with me… The degree is important, but the content of the degree is the critical factor. Science (STEM) and business degree graduates increase their economic advantage over their liberal arts counterparts during bad times. The New York Times reported, "Take finance majors. In normal economic times, they earn 24 percent more than the average college major when they are one year out of college. But in a recession, they earn 32 percent more than the average.

At the other end of the earnings spectrum, religion and philosophy majors earn 42 percent less than the average major their first year out of college, and 55 percent less during a recession." What's the lesson? Your college grad can live at home with you and have philosophical discussions, or you can send them to the lab or "B" school…but, the major matters!

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