Read the article：Read and academically analyze the material presented; Think critically about the subject matter; articulate your ideas; and share your thoughts and questions. Your response should including following questions.
•What are the main dilemmas in the reading? Give a few examples.
•In what stage are you in your studies?
•If you already have a major: How did you choose your major “for the love or for the money”?
•If you in the early stages of the program how will you decide?
Choosing a College Major: For Love or for the
By DAVID KOEPPEL DEC. 5, 2004
Like countless other college students, Susannah Lloyd-Jones struggled with her
choice of major. Finally, in her junior year at Loyola University in Chicago, she picked
sociology, a decision that “opened my mind and introduced me to other cultures, ”
she said. More than two years after graduation, though, Ms. Lloyd-Jones, now a 24-
year-old paralegal from Maplewood, N.J., occasionally wonders if she made the right
decision. “It might have been easier if I had been a business major,” she said,
“because that’s where the money is.”
Ms. Lloyd-Jones says if she had it to do over, she would probably still study
sociology but take more business classes and work some internships. She said
students feel tremendous pressure over the choice of a major, which could be an
important career decision, when many are just beginning to understand themselves.
Many students and career counselors say the pressure to choose the “right”
major is more intense than ever because of factors like rising tuition costs and the
uncertain economy. Parents and students today often consider college more an
investment than a time of academic and personal exploration. Some students say they
are education consumers seeking the best return on that investment, which is often
financed with a student loan.
The annual cost of a four-year public college averages $11,354, a 7.8 increase
from 2003-4, according to the College Board; a four-year private college averages
$27,516, a 5.6 percent increase.
In their recently published “College Majors Handbook With Real Career Paths
and Payoffs” (Jist Publishing), three economists from Northeastern University in
Boston try to quantify just how much students with a variety of majors can expect to
earn in their careers. The authors concluded that choosing a major was more crucial
to future financial success than the college attended.
One of the authors, Paul E. Harrington, an economist and associate director at
the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern, said that, on average,
humanities and education majors fared far worse financially than students in
business or engineering.
In 2002, workers with degrees in chemical engineering and accounting were on
the high end, earning an average of $75,579 and $63,486, respectively. On the low
end, philosophy majors made an average of $42,865 and elementary education
Mr. Harrington said the research was not intended to dissuade sociology majors
from following their passions. Instead, he hopes the information will help students
prepare carefully when choosing a major. He recommends that students
contemplating majors in the liberal arts or humanities also take some business-
oriented courses. A philosophy major, Mr. Harrington said, should probably get some
real-world internship experience.
“The world is a more unforgiving place than it used to be, and investment costs
are too high for four years of drift,” he said. “If a student doesn’t take the right
sequence of math courses in high school, they can lose out on the best jobs.”
But some people worry that choosing a career based primarily on economic
factors can lead students to make poor choices. Jieun Chai, a 2000 Stanford
University graduate, for instance, deeply regrets not majoring in Asian languages.
“I’m so angry at myself for giving in to peer pressure, parental pressure and
societal pressure,” Ms. Chai wrote on her Web journal. “Why are you taking only
language classes? Think about your career in consulting, engineering, medicine or
Alysha Cryer, who was Ms. Lloyd-Jones’s roommate at Loyola, withstood
pressure from classmates and family members who urged her to attend law school or
Ms. Cryer said that sticking with sociology was the most satisfying, if not
financially rewarding, decision she could have made.
After graduating in 2002, she took a public relations and marketing job at a
nonprofit organization in Chicago called Little Brothers, a group that matches
volunteers with elderly clients. Her starting salary was $24,000, barely enough to
survive in Chicago. In 2003, she moved to Manhattan to work for Catalyst, a
nonprofit research and advisory organization. “With education so expensive, many in
my generation are mired in debt,” Ms. Cryer said. “Some people choose to sacrifice
personal happiness to make money.”
Peter Vogt, a career counselor in Minneapolis and the moderator on the Career
Planning for College Students message board at Monster.com, a Web site for job
seekers, says many of his 20-something clients think they have squandered their
college years on the wrong studies.
“They think they only have one chance and that they’ve blown it,” Mr. Vogt said.
“‘I should have picked X instead of Y. I should have taken the unpaid internship
instead of working at T.G.I. Friday’s to pay for tuition.”‘
He tells graduates they should think of themselves not as psychology or sociology
majors, but as workers with marketable skills like research, writing and
A danger in the Northeastern economists’ research, he said, is that it adds to the
“mythology” that only dollar figures are important in choosing a field of study, and it
does not account for differences in personality, aptitude, interest and values. Mr. Vogt
considers the pressures facing current students far greater than those of generations
Trudy Steinfeld, director of career services at New York University, tells students
that majors should be less about preparing for one career and more about preparing
for many options, and probably several careers, over a lifetime. She agrees with the
Northeastern data showing that finance, accounting and technology degrees will lead
to higher salaries. But she says she also sees liberal arts majors who become equally
“College should be about stretching yourself and discovering who you are and
what you want,” Ms. Steinfeld said. “Schools should not become factories. There are
hundreds of majors out there, and it’s almost always a mistake to base the decision on
Ms. Steinfeld agrees, though, that students can run into overwhelming pressure
from many sources.
Parents paying even a portion of college costs may wonder if a major in
philosophy will pay the bills. And if their children change majors, it could extend
college from 8 semesters to 9 or 10, at an additional cost.
Nevertheless, Priscilla Molina, 18, an N.Y.U. sophomore, is taking her time
choosing a major. Many of her friends are pursuing business careers, but that, she
said, will not affect her decision. She is fascinated by international relations and is
leaning toward anthropology.
“I want to pick a path that I’m interested in, one that opens my mind,” she said.
“You’re only in college once. I don’t want to regret why I didn’t major in something I
© 2015 The New York Times Company