Deciding on a Major? Here's an Article on Most and Least Regrets.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Bill Huffman, Nov 12, 2022.

  1. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

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  2. Charles Fout

    Charles Fout Active Member

  3. Charles Fout

    Charles Fout Active Member

    I too, find the article very interesting. My observation is that the majors at both ends of the spectrum are simply vocational training dressed up as education. I've joined the school of thought that undergraduate education should be about learning how to learn. All these years later, I developed a sincere appreciation of my first College, Saint Joseph's College, Indiana, Core Program. If I had it to do over, either finishing at Saint Joseph's College or a Mortimer Adler-Style Great Books program would have been the best undergraduate degree for me. At times I feel personally responsible that my Saint Joe's crashed and burned. All that said - my current thought is - there's plenty of time for training after one has learned how to learn. <3
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  4. ArielB

    ArielB Member

    The first college I went to right out of high school many years ago was St. John's College in Annapolis...a Great Books program. It was wonderful; it definitely taught you how to think.
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  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I've heard wonderful things about them!

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Wow! It's an interesting article. I always thought the most regretting majors were anything ending with STUDIES or anything with HISTORY.

    • Asian Studies
    • Women Studies
    • African Studies
    • History
    • Medieval History
    • Classical Studies
  7. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I assume the reason Biology ranks high for regret is because people who choose to major in it are often preparing for Medicine, Dentistry and other professions that they may not qualify for. Most of the items on the "regret" list map onto low paying careers so I could see how people would regret them. Interesting that Criminology and Psychology rank highly on the least regret, because those are often grouped negatively with the other social sciences.
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  8. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    As a Biology graduate, I can attest this is true for the most part. I think those of us who went in thinking "I'm going to be a doctor" found out that we indeed were not. Not for the lack of intelligence, at least for me. I had a lack of wanting to be around sick people. However, 3.5 years in I had to suck it up or extend my time even longer in undergrad.

    Do I regret it? Not necessarily as I met some incredible people and now I have friends that are Harvard Medical School, Dartmouth Medical School, etc. friends. Phenomenal people and I was able to learn about a subject I have a passion for (but pays horrendous). Lol
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    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I think Biology is an excellent major if someone decides to continue further education, such as Medical school and a Doctorate, to become a professional researcher. It is not a good major for someone to decide to stop after four-year degrees as K-12 teaching is not a high pay profession.
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  10. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    My major was Computer Science. It is the major with the least regrets. Personally I feel very lucky that I picked CS. That was back in 1972. Back then there were no personal computers nor even gaming computer platforms. The first gaming platform I think was a game of pong later in 1972. I was just searching through the Berkeley degrees book and saw the CS degree and decided to major in it because it required lots of math and I like math. More importantly I could finish the degree in 2 years. Later I found out that only Berkeley and one other college (Stanford IIRC) offered Bachelor degrees in CS at the time.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Accidental pioneer!
  12. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    YES! I think I was like in the first or second graduating class of CS students. I was very lucky. Right now or at least 10 years ago getting into the Berkeley CS program was super competitive. I probably wouldn't have been able to get in since you now need like almost a perfect GPA to get in. A few years after my graduation, my company stopped hiring from Berkeley because the graduates were priced to far out of our salary range.

    A funny tangent story, when the mother of my girlfriend at the time heard about my choice, she counseled me against the choice. She said that electricity prices were rising rapidly and so this silly computer thing was going to die.
  13. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    My thoughts on this is that folks majoring in those kind of things probably didn't really expect to get a job using their degree after a Bachelor's degree.
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  14. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    My thought as well...unless you pursue a doctorate and an academic position. Outside of that? No clue.
  15. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

  16. sube

    sube Member

    I find it odd that marketing management is on the list of most regretted. Marketing folks make good money and it's interesting work. I do a lot of that, but it is not what I majored in.

    I have a BA in psychology and while it's not the most practical since you really do need at least a master's to do anything psych related, the skills you learn do translate well into other fields, such as marketing and communications. I have no regrets.
    JoshD likes this.
  17. ArielB

    ArielB Member

    I had a career in tech before going back to school to get my degree in History (starting a MA-History soon too), so I can't speak to finding a job with the degree, however, I think History teaches a lot of skills that are useful in the real world. For example, being able to consume vast amount of information, process it, and create succinct output. Not to mention it's interesting! It's also great preparation for law school because of the amount of reading and studying required. No regrets here.
  18. LevelUP

    LevelUP Active Member

    Out of the STEM majors, Biology is the most popular science major, though it pays similarly to a Psychology degree which is among the lowest-paying degrees.

    People with marketable skills such as creative and communication skills can do well with a Liberal Arts/Non-Stem degree.

    Even with an Underwater Basket Weaving degree, you can make a career out of it. Having a degree is better than not having one.
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  19. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    I don’t understand why someone would regret a Communications degree. I’ve seen it listed on “most useless degrees “ lists as well. My only guess is that a lot of people that gravitate towards a degree like that because they can’t figure out what they want to do, so it often becomes a “catch-all” degree of sorts for people that have low motivation or lack of direction. I liked my Communications degree program very much and I use it every day. It’s broad enough to apply to so many things, if you can’t figure out how to leverage it, that’s on you, not the degree.
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  20. freeloader

    freeloader Member

    Isn’t that where the regret likely comes from? They do expect to get a job “using” their degree. I went to a well-regarded school on the East Coast that serves as a feeder for the federal government; CIA, NSA, FBI, Foreign Service, etc. all recruit my school pretty heavily. Most of my friends who did East Asian, South Asian, African, or Latin American studies ended up going to work for the federal government in an area using their degree or going to law school—many of them subsequently went to work for the federal government. Of course that’s anecdotal based on my friend group, but you can’t wave your arms wide in a federal office building in DC without hitting a person with a degree from my first undergrad school.

    So, why the regret? Well, if you go to a handful of schools, primarily well-regarded schools on the East Coast, it’s fairly easy to “use” your studies degree if you want to. Probably true of some of the other top schools (places like Chicago, Stanford, USC). Outside of that, it’s likely a longshot that you will be able to “use” your degree.

    The problem—and likely regret—comes when you are unrealistic about what your degree can do for you. An Asian studies major from a small school in the Midwest that involved very little language study is worth a whole lot less than a comparable degree from Georgetown, let’s say, that involves 2+ years of studying an in-demand and challenging Asian language or two.

    To expect comparable outcomes is totally unrealistic, frankly, but schools are not apt to publicize how “worthless” their degrees are in terms of their “use”. Instead, a school will plaster the face and bio on their website and recruiting materials of the one or two people who have “used” their degree to get, say, a foreign service job. Meanwhile, places like Maryland and Virginia can’t even keep track of the number of people who have that type of job. And it’s a lot to ask for an 18 or 19 year old kid to be aware of how wide the disparity between schools can be in terms of placements and outcomes.

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