Category: Value of Education
If someone asks you how much you get paid, you probably answer with a dollar amount (or politely ask them to mind their own business). But the real value of your compensation comprises more than just the numbers that appear in your direct deposit at regular intervals. Perks like health insurance, 401(k) match, bonuses, and so on, save you money or make you money and contribute directly to your bottom line. Now, a few companies are introducing what might be the ultimate money-saving perk: cash to repay student loans ahead of schedule, thus potentially saving employees thousands in interest.
At a recent town hall event, Jeb Bush said that psych majors "end up working at Chick-fil-A." He went on to add that, "I just don't think people are getting jobs as psych majors." As a fully employed former psychology major, I have to say I resent that. In fact, I've written before on how to turn your psych major into a lucrative career, demonstrating that it's entirely possible to find employment outside the retail sector. But that doesn't mean that getting a job with a bachelor's in psychology is easy.
On October 19, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party won a decisive victory in the Canadian national election. The prime-minister designate assumes office in November, and has already started movement on his campaign promises, but even if you don't care about Canadian politics (or any politics) there are a few interesting things to note about Canada's next prime minister. For starters, liberal arts majors can rejoice, because Trudeau has, among other degrees, a bachelor's in English literature from McGill. There's an answer, the next time your parents ask you, "What are you going to do with that English degree?"
Upon entering high school, I was under the impression that my life would resemble that of Marissa Cooper from The OC, coming home past my curfew because I was out with a cute boy or getting into some shenanigans with my best gal pals. If we ignore the blatant reality that I was not a wealthy, blonde teenager (who was obviously at least 25), my high school experience was still vastly different from the one depicted on the television programs I watched. In retrospect, I believe my high school experience more closely resembles Olivia Pope's narrative on Scandal; I was constantly under pressure to appear perfect.
Over 67 percent of college seniors had taken out student loans as of the 2011-12 academic year, according to The National Center for Education Statistics. That same year, the student loan default rate reached 10 percent. Obviously, no one enters school planning on defaulting on their student loans – defaulting can ruin your credit, impacting everything from your ability to get a mortgage or a car loan to getting hired for your dream job. PayScale's College Salary Report shows how college choice affects ability to earn enough to pay back loans; to help students avoid common mistakes when taking out their first loans, we spoke via email with Anne Del Plato, Regional Director for U-fi Student Loans.
This weekend, President Obama rolled out new Department of Education initiatives aimed at increasing the number of students who attend college and graduate without unmanageable student loan debt. Among them: College Scorecard, an assessment tool that allows students and their families to choose potential colleges based on factors like average annual cost, graduation rate, and salary after attending. PayScale is using this data to add another layer to our College ROI Report, showing how income level affects college ROI.
A graduate degree isn't a guarantee, either of employment or high earnings. For one thing, not all graduate degrees are created equal. Some fields obviously grow more than others, and may or may not reward candidates with advanced degrees on their CVs. Some occupations require licensure to practice, or set the barrier of entry at a certain educational level. To help you figure out whether going back to school is in your best interests, this year's College Salary Report ranks the top graduate degrees by earnings.
All work and no play makes for a dull life and possibly an uninspired career, but sometimes, you have to sacrifice the occasional pool party in order to score a career-defining internship. Sasha Pasulka, Director, Audience Product Marketing at Tableau Software, spoke with PayScale for a special feature on forging a path from college to career, and shared that advice, plus a few other valuable tips. Among them: listen to your aunt, especially if she's a recruiter, and pay attention to what you loved when you were 12 years old. You never know when you'll discover the perfect career path.
College choice isn't career destiny, no matter what your high school guidance counselor might've told you. When it comes to building a career, the opportunities you take while you're going to school can be just as important as the name of the institution on your diploma. PayScale's College Salary Report ranks the colleges and universities whose graduates go on to high-paying careers, but the big surprise is how many "non-brand-name" schools make the list. Developer Evangelist Dallas Tester tells us why college reputation isn't a blueprint for graduates' career paths.
Just because students love to party, doesn't mean they're trading keggers today for career opportunities tomorrow. PayScale uses The Princeton Review's list of party schools as a jumping-off place, and then ranks them according to the median pay of their graduates at early and mid-career. To make Princeton's list, schools must have a high percentage of students who report seeing frequent drug and alcohol use at their schools, a very active Greek system, not too many hours per day devoted to study.
One of the biggest challenges for entering college students is finding time to do everything they need to do, in order to prepare for a successful career after graduation. As part of PayScale's College Salary Report, we asked several successful people to tell us how they bridged the gap between choosing a major and graduating to a satisfying career. For Sarah Fenske, Editor in Chief of the Riverfront Times and graduate of The College of Wooster, the answer was simple: gain work experience, in any way possible.
Salary is important; no matter how much you love your job, you're probably not going to be happy if you're stressed about paying the bills. Beyond a certain point, however, more money doesn't necessarily equal more happiness. For this reason, it's a good idea for entering college students to consider meaning as well as money when choosing a major.