I haven’t been a college student in many moons. I do know, however, that there are some key differences of being an undergraduate today and an undergraduate in the far too distant past when I was one. Student debt was certainly a thing when I was wandering the campus of my beloved alma mater, but I don’t envy the overwhelming debt twentysomethings of today have to put up with. It used to be that men outnumbered women on any campus not named Wellesley. Today, women are the overwhelming majority in numerous disciplines.
One thing that I feel hasn’t changed is the amount of indecision that peppers every building on every campus. I know when I was attending college, a large percentages of my classmates were relatively clueless about which major to pursue. In 2012, 80% of college freshmen were undeclared. That sounds like an exceptionally high number, but the choice isn’t easy. Remember, it’s not particularly easy being a teenager and pinpointing what it is you want to do for the rest of your life. This is especially true today, when universities are offering in excess of 200 majors.
We all know there are certain majors that offer limited financial prospects (creative writing, theater, etc.) There are other majors in today’s world that aren’t as rewarding as one might expect. For instance, 27.7% of graduates from even the best law schools are currently underemployed.
Fortunately, there are some majors that still have several advantages. One of those majors would be business. Here are a few reasons why.
Business majors tend to land higher starting salaries than people with other majors. According to a study conducted by the National Association of College Employers (NACE), college graduates saw an average starting salary jump of 3.4% between the years 2011 and 2012. Business majors outpaced that rate with a 4.2% increase.
It’s not even just starting salaries that have seen an increase. Between the years 2012 and 2013, salaries for business majors increased by an incredible 7.9 percent. That’s a bigger increase than any other academic discipline in that same time span. The overall average for college graduates of any kind was 2.4%.
One of the best things about being a business major is that it can be applied in a variety of different fields as well: you’re not completely pigeonholed. If you fancy yourself as a creative person, you can stretch into advertising. If you’re more of a numbers geek, the finance department will suit you well.
Being a business major opens you up to follow your other passions. Nearly everything in America is rooted in business in one way or another. An author may like to perceive him or herself as an artist, but that author is ultimately an employee of the publishing industry. If like myself you are a fan of the written word, there’s no reason you can’t look for positions in the publishing business (it’s hardly a secret that they could use some business acumen these days). If you’re undeclared, but you know you have a proclivity for numbers, you can pursue a business degree and use it to land an administrative job in an industry that you relate to.
The business degree isn’t for everyone, and I wouldn’t suggest it to everyone. If you go into a college with a clear vision of what you want to pursue, more power to you. I’m talking to the undeclareds right now. Being an undeclared student and dabbling in a myriad of disciplines may seem fun at the time, but economically it’s completely impractical. I like how Troy Onink puts it:
College isn’t an all you can eat buffet, or at least it shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s not inconceivable that you will “find your passion” while taking classes in every building of your campus, but you will be throwing away money in the meantime. Hardly a wise financial decision. Make the right financial decision and pursue a business degree today! For more information about pursuing a business degree, click here.