The Worst Paying Majors

I read an article the other day that I found kind of disturbing and I thought I’d share it with you.  The piece is called the 10 Worst Paying College Majors.  In brief, OMFG.


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I’ve written this screed a number of times this last hour but I guess this is really the gist of it.  If you’re going to college to study a “best paying major” you’re even more lost than most people your age.  College is (was) a blessing – it was four years (up to six for some of my close friends) in which one figures out how to take in a lot of information, synthesize it, and form cogent opinions about the world and one’s self.  It not about how to get a degree that will pay me a crap-load of money.  I’m not really a New Testament guy, but even I understand the meaning “gaining the whole world and losing one’s soul.”  It’s an intellectual sanctuary within which we get to spend time with great works and not with a focus towards how to study that which will earn me the most money but deplete my psychic bank account.


How many of the issues we all face revolve around a focus the bottom line and not on the things that make each day worth living?  I am a raving capitalist, but not at the expense of losing my ability to seek out facts and blend them into a 360 degree view of the world  and the people who inhabit it.


Here is where I come out.  Yes, go to college.  Learn critical thinking.  Trust no one but the self you’re going to become.  If and when you  find something in which you believe, follow your calling.  The worst-paying college majors may just be the most satisfying things you can ever do in your life.  I studied English, Education, and Music.  I”ve never worked a day in any of them but the critical thinking skills and the ability to express myself were an integral part of those four years.  I would not trade any of it for a nice paycheck but I earned quite a few of them because I possessed those skills.




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3 responses to “The Worst Paying Majors

  1. Robin

    I completely agree. I grew up hearing that a college degree was all that I needed to succeed in life. I was a shocked when I graduated from college and could not even score an interview, much less a job. No one seemed to care that I could speak a few languages.

    The lack of a job after graduation doesn’t mean that those 3 years I spent in college were wasted. For many of us, college is the first time we have widespread exposure to people from varying backgrounds. One of the biggest lessons I learned did not come from a college classroom but from the campus itself, including one very special professor who remains near and dear to my heart.

    I learned that not everyone was like me. I realize that sounds naive, but growing up Southern Baptist in an intact middle class family made me think that everyone had the same family security and life experiences that I had lived. Going through college didn’t merely require me to meet other people who had experienced life in a variety of ways that were foreign to my own experiences, it required me to understand that those differences are OK and that they are not to be judged, feared or avoided.

    College may not have landed me the career of my dreams (or any career at all for that matter). It really was more of a stepping stone to teach me how to begin the journey or getting where I wanted to go. In a nutshell, college made me understand that life is like remoulade, There are many ways to make it work.

  2. Here, here. There is still plenty of value in a liberal arts education, and you can end up in plenty of careers that aren’t “teaching” or don’t involve lots more years in graduate school. College is a time to learn who you are, what you care about, what motivates you, how to think critically, how to compose a thought, how to form an argument. All of those are skills that have value to numerous careers, and all can be learned in all manner of college majors. Preach on!

  3. finnmikkoMikko

    Agree 100%, Keith!

    I majored in English, but some of my favorite classes were “Classics” literature, Byzantine era Art, History of Jazz (and separate History of Blues), and a Sociology course. One common factor: engaging, interesting professors who made you think.

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