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Most college graduates wish they majored in something different

Virginia Van Natta

Bloomberg

 /  Mon, March 2, 2020  /  07:07 am
Most college graduates wish they majored in something different

There is a disconnect between what young people are studying and what the reality is when they start working, said Quinn Tomlin, a spokeswoman at BestColleges. (Shutterstock/Yuttana Jaowattana)

Three out of five college graduates say they should have majored in something different and would go back and change their field of study if they could, according to a survey by Bestcolleges.com. Why they want a change depends on their age.

About a third of dissatisfied folks ages 24-39 said they should have focused on subjects that improved their job opportunities. Meanwhile, older generations lamented not pursuing their passion.

Millennials were the most likely to say their degrees failed to prepare them for the workforce, echoing recent studies that found US workers lack literacy and numeracy skills. Older people with degrees were less likely to care about in-demand skills or compensation and instead focused on purpose and fulfillment in their careers, according to the survey.

There is a disconnect between what young people are studying and what the reality is when they start working, said Quinn Tomlin, a spokeswoman at BestColleges.

Read also: Nine-year-old set to become world's youngest university graduate

“Universities need to make sure networking and career education opportunities are accessible,” Tomlin said. “Students can do a better job at researching their degrees ahead of time.”

On a positive note, four out of five graduates said their degree was a good investment. The number is even higher, at 86 percent, for those making $80,000 or more annually. Satisfaction dips to 74 percent for people earning less than $40,000, according to the survey.

Just 5 percent of all respondents said their education had no value at all, a reassuring thought for the 43 million Americans carrying student debt.

The survey, conducted through YouGov from Jan. 22-24, polled 817 college graduates in the US from a variety of demographics.

--With assistance from Alex Tanzi.

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