The decline of the professional middle class is a sector that makes up to 40 percent of the developed world’s economy. Ph.D. Nan Mooney describes it as “downward spiral of a sobering reality.”
The issue is that those who go into professions such as teaching, journalism, business, art, history etc. often come out with an insurmountable level of debt that no degree of work can cure. The tilt of the entire system makes admittance to these majors appealing in college, but goes no further to describe the multitude of downsides associated with these professions.
Alongside the youth’s decision to select a college, both shape the finances and possibilities of their future. Due to misguidance and misinformation, our youth follow advice that was pertinent to their parents but is quickly becoming obsolete in the 21st century.
Students will naturally gravitate toward prestige. Who wouldn’t? But it’s endless. Often the level of education that smaller universities can provide is ignored when compared to the larger, more “respectable” colleges.
What we fail to recognize is it’s not the level of education that differs; it’s the student’s ability to succeed at said college. Even though a small liberal arts college could provide the best learning environment for a student, students will still choose to go Ivy to satiate their parents’ dreams, the community around them, or their dogmatic view of attending a well-respected school.
No one wants to see themselves in the future attending a university very few others have heard of. The sad reality is that an overwhelming amount of students attend neither. Grades, GPA, test scores, extracurricular, etc. determine what caliber a “student” is, showing his or her strengths in comparison to others. But the finances, a large part, goes unsaid.
The awkward conversation between parent and child is something that some consider unnecessary, but how do we expect students to choose a suitable field for their future when they don’t even know what their limitations are. For many families, college is often the largest expense, so why should we sweep it under the rug. It may be an uncomfortable topic but it can better guarantee a brighter future.
For a realistic approach, I have discussed these similar questions with the past three graduating classes of Great Oak High School. But for a better understanding, I used a survey asking my 120-student Inter-Baccalaureate class similar questions: What motivates you? How does your family contribute to your goals? Will you be successful at the university?
The large majority of students from the South, North, and South East Asia approached the college system in a different manner than the rest – medicine, engineering, and law opposed to any other profession. Should we not do what we love?
Students A, B, C attend universities for majors that are not projected to have a field in the future.
Dr. Mooney advises students to choose majors including medicine, science, law, and business. But it’s not that you can’t succeed in other fields not mentioned above, it’s just you are going to be required to do something above the ordinary.
With demand pushing towards biotechnology and science, odds are at your favor for you to make it in a science major, while arts and history often don’t provide the same job security. This begs the question, with major selection and finances being such a large contributing factor, how can we approach the system without either swaying to following our passions or following the path of job security? It varies from individual to individual, of what he or she wants, but eventually you’re going to have to choose, “should I do what I love or what money it entails?”
So when the opportunity to choose a college comes into mind, don’t just let “reputation” supersede all else. Things to keep in mind: financial and fiscal issues (a life of debt is not worth attending University A over University B), job security, and lastly, your commitment to your passion; ergo, in your future your expected return will be greater than those around you.
You determine your college, your future. So don’t make the hasty decision of choosing something that isn’t in your best interest.