A recent study conducted by the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found the selection of a student’s major affects potential job opportunities and earnings.
Additionally, the study found that some majors were affected by the recession, such as architecture, the major with the highest unemployment rate at 13.9%, about 2.8% higher from the next highest major, arts (11.1%).
Mike Waring, a fifth year architecture student at Northeastern University in Boston, says he is both “worried” and “optimistic” about his job outlook.
“It’s not great, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Waring said on the prospective career field. “So once the economy turns around, look for architecture to be pulling it self out of the mud.”
Other majors that made the list were humanities and liberal arts (9.4%), social science (8.9%) and business (7.4%).
“These statistics may affect the way employers view the value of my major. Humanities and social science majors should be able to market their research, writing, mathematics and critical thinking skills to employers,” Joaille Araujo, an anthropology and international affairs major at George Washington University, said.
Despite having majors with two of the highest unemployment rates, Araujo said she is still hopeful.
“Having over four years of internship experience in government, human rights and legal agencies, I think getting a job in related industries will be easier than it would be without that experience,” she said. “Those connections can lead to another internship, or a full-time position.”
While many students try their chances in the job market, other students — such as Mississippi State University fifth year architecture major Amy Selvaggio — have considered going back for their graduate degree in an attempt to wait out the employment slump.
“I know the unemployment rating is a big deal right now among graduating architecture students,” Selvaggio added. “When the economy does turn around, employers will probably go for people right out of school and not people who have been unemployed for two years.”
However, staying in school does have its downfalls. Students like Julie Bogen — a sophomore film and new media studies major at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. — are concerned graduate school will create an even steeper amount of debt.
“The thought of graduating without a job is terrifying, and with today’s economy it seems that I should expect such an unpleasant fate,” Bogen said. “I am considering graduate school to further my degree… however, I’m afraid… I will only increase my student loan debt and miss out on real-world job experiences.”
Additionally, the study found individuals with graduate degrees, on average, had higher earnings than those with undergraduate degrees.
Among recent college graduates, engineers have the highest earnings for recent college graduates with and entrance salary of about $55k, though their unemployment rate sits in the middle of the pack at about 7.5%.
Only two other major fields have their earnings more than $40k: computers and mathematics ($46k) and health ($43k).
For students unsure of where to begin when applying for jobs, Araujo says to check out the university career center.
“The career center is extremely helpful and it invites recruiters to educate seniors about full-time job opportunities.”
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