De Anza College students weigh in on degree choices2 min read

Rika Kumar, Staff Writer

Many students choose between passion and money when it comes to picking their majors in college.

Thanks to the wide availability of Internet data linking degree choice to average starting pay, students can easily discover if their chosen career path leads to a salary they can live with.

Some people choose a career primarily based on money, said De Anza College counselor Rob Clem.

“Others choose a career for passion and something they enjoy doing,” said Clem.

A study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce revealed choosing a specific major might be more important than the institution itself. Regardless of institution, the study found a computer science major can get a job with a general starting salary of $57,000 as opposed to a liberal arts major, who would start at $29,500.

“People concerned about monetary matters and financial concerns might migrate towards those careers that pay more right out of school,” Clem said. “That’s human nature, and that is a need in their life. But they should also think more long term.”

Students and faculty have varying thoughts on the outcomes of a college education and major.

De Anza counselor Don Nickel said, “The purpose of a college education is to provide you both work content and transferable skills, such as critical thinking, communication, interpersonal, and research skills that you can apply to any career.”

Some students at De Anza said they initially choose a major for the love of the subject, before considering job opportunity and salary implications.

“I picked my major due to the fact that I enjoy speaking in front of large crowds,” said Monique Ross, 21, communications major. “Money is, of course, a factor, but that is definitely not the only reason I would want to go into a communications related profession.”

Thy Doan, 18, undecided major, said when she chooses a major she is going to depend on her passion for the subject.

“Individuals should get a job that they look forward to every time they wake up,” Doan said.

De Anza College Life Planning Department offers CLP70 and 75 classes to help students better understand themselves and research careers and majors.

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