Money might not buy happiness, but lack of money can sure set you up for a world of misery. Just ask any of the 6.9 million Americans – as of July, 2015 – who hadn't made a payment on their federal students in 360 days. In fact, about 17 percent of all borrowers were severely delinquent in paying their student loans last year. Why? Well, for one thing, it's hard to stay on top of your loans if you can't get a job with a salary high enough to pay them.
For this reason, PayScale's College ROI Report is a valuable tool for entering students. While of course college choice needs to be based on a variety of factors like career goals, interests, and aptitude, thinking about life after graduation, professionally and financially, is also key. College isn't just vocational training, but if you're going to get into debt, you need to set yourself up to get a job that will allow you to pay off those loans.
When it comes to picking a major, earning potential is only part of the picture. After all, if you're a born English major, forcing yourself into a STEM field is more a recipe for discomfort than a guarantee of riches down the line. Once you know what you want to study, you'll need to find the school whose graduates in that concentration find the most success after graduation.