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Wrong College Major Can Be Costly [AUDIO]

Are you wishing you picked a different major in college? It’s a common and expensive error, and one that many of today’s college students may be making right now.

College graduation
Flickr user llee_wu

Unfortunately for the vast majority of Americans, that huge life decision is asked to be made by the time they become 20 years old. Students have to not only focus on what they’re good at, or what they’re interested in, but also what could end up reimbursing them through paychecks when they enter the job market.

“These are difficult decisions because it’s very hard for people to know, for anyone to know, four or five years down the road what jobs are really going to be in demand,” said Carl Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. “There’s often a trade-off between what people would like to do versus what is more likely to earn them a living.”

Van Horn noted, though, a compromise is possible. One may major in fine arts, but there’s still the option to take some courses in business. Better yet, major in one subject, and get a summer job that utilizes a whole different set of skills.

Freshman and sophomore years can be used as a “sampling period,” but it would be smart to declare a major by junior year, or earning a degree will take much longer than originally expected.

“What’s important is that young people think about this with the advice of their family, but more importantly with professionals at colleges and universities that can help them,” Van Horn added.

Oftentimes, he said, people make the mistake of thinking a college diploma is a clear path to a successful future. That’s never been the case, and it’s even more false now in today’s fumbling job market.

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