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5 Tips for Comparing Majors in Your School

Choosing a major can be a challenge to do. You have to compare the majors that are available in your school carefully so you can choose the right one. You don’t want to get into a situation where you might regret the decision you make. As a result you should see what types of majors are available at a school and use these particular parameters for finding one that’s right for you.

Look At the Courses

Take a look at the coursework that will be required of you in different majors. Various majors will have their own coursework standards that must be followed. Some majors in the field of science might focus more on math-related courses than computer-related ones, for instance. Check to see if the major you want to take has courses that you might actually be interested in.

On a related note, think about the particular internships, student groups and other resources available for you based on the courses you are taking. You might find different groups that have interests that are similar to you based on whatever you want to study.

Consider Your Talents

Take a look at whatever talents you might have. Perhaps you are a good speaker or you have strong writing skills. Take a look at those talents and see what particular majors in your school might be right for you. A great writer could major in journalism, for instance.

What Everyday Skills Are Involved?

The skills you will learn in your major go well beyond just what is needed for you to be successful in a particular job. Everyday skills may also play a big part in your major.

Many majors will entail courses dedicated to solving complicated problems, how to communicate with others and even how to speak particular languages. The variety of skills that you might learn in your major will certainly make a difference.

Look Beyond Salary

While you might hear stories about the amounts of money people with certain majors make, you should ignore those stories. There is always a potential you could earn more or less than whatever someone says your major is worth. Your total earnings will be based heavily on the market you are in, how experienced you are and whether or not you are an efficient worker.

Don’t Think You’re Limited

The last tip is to avoid thinking that there are limits as to what you can do with your college degree depending on the major you are in. The major might help you get into various jobs but that doesn’t mean your future is limited to just those particular jobs.

Try and compare majors based on the specific types of jobs or lines of work people have gotten into. A person with a mathematics degree could be in a sports-related field or in a space-related industry, for instance. You might be surprised at the jobs that are available to you based on a particular major. Therefore, feel free to look around to see what types of jobs you could get out of your particular major.

You should think carefully when you’re trying to find a major that you can be comfortable with. Comparing college majors doesn’t have to be too hard to do if you use the points listed in this guide to help you along. Take a look at as many of these majors as possible and you’ll see that you might get a great total going for your studies.

Degrees That Lead to Best Paying Jobs

Multiple factors come into play when choosing a college major. Your primary challenge is to find a degree program that will qualify you for a career doing the type of work you enjoy.

Another consideration is how much money you can expect to make in your first job. You want to be able to pay off student loans as soon as possible, and begin living the life you envision. Here is a look at the degrees that produce the highest starting salaries for graduates.

Overview
It likely comes as no surprise to any college-bound student that degree programs in science and business lead to some of the best-paying jobs. It also is commonly understood that a high salary is not among the rewards of being a teacher or social worker.

Engineering is at the top of the list. Employment in one of this discipline’s myriad specialties featured an average starting salary of $63,000 in 2013. Computer-science majors and business grads were next at $60,000 and $54,000, respectively. Beginning jobs in communications paid $43,000; math and sciences, $42,700; education, $40,000; and humanities and social sciences, $37,000.

Keep mind that these are average figures, with some positions in each field paying more than others. The statistics were compiled by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a nonprofit organization based in Bethlehem, Penn. It connects private companies seeking employees with career-placement offices at universities.

The NACE study, commissioned by The Associated Press, used information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and private sources like the Job Search Intelligence firm. Data was obtained from nearly 90 universities and colleges.

Engineering
The education and expertise required to be an engineer are not the only reasons that such jobs pay the most money. It is also because of the demand for engineers. Employers continue to report a shortage of qualified applicants for positions in this field.

Of the 10 college majors that lead to the highest salaries, seven involve engineering. Ranking in first place in 2013 were graduates with degrees in petroleum engineering. Their starting pay averaged $96,200. Computer engineers placed second among all graduates, at $70,300. Coming in third were chemical engineering majors, at $66,900.

Students of aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering tied for the fifth-highest starting salaries. They earned an average of $63,900, the same as that paid to mechanical engineering graduates. Next on the list were those who majored in electrical, electronics and communications engineering. They got an average of $62,500. Engineering technology, at $60,900, placed eighth among all professions.

Others on the List
While engineering jobs dominated the list, the study found several other disciplines that paid extremely well. Computer science degrees netted the fourth-best starting pay ($64,100). Finishing ninth and 10th were business management information systems ($60,300) and logistics and materials management ($59,500).

The degrees that led to the lowest-paying starting salaries are those in child and family studies, $29,500; elementary education, $31,600; social work, $31,800; athletic training, $32,800; culinary arts, $35,900; horticulture, $35,000; and theology, $34,700.

Salary Trends
Students who graduated in health sciences in 2013 saw the largest spike in pay, making 9.4 percent more than in 2012 to raise the average to $50,000. Business degrees netted about about $54,000, 7.1 percent more than they did the previous year. Salaries for education graduates were up 5.1 percent to about $40,000, while those for computer-science majors rose 4.3 percent to $60,000.

Beginning jobs in engineering professions paid 4 percent more than in 2012. The smallest increase, 1.9 percent, was reported in the humanities and social sciences. Starting salaries for those careers were about $37,000 in 2013.

However, some social-science professionals are in demand. The starting pay for sociologists soared 10.8 percent in 2013. Criminal justice majors earned 8.1 percent more than in the previous year. At the other end of the scale, those with degrees in the arts made 3 percent less, averaging $35,600.

Conclusion
In general, salaries for college graduates are on the rise. NACE reported that those who received bachelor’s degrees in 2013 received an average starting salary of about $45,000, a 5.3 percent increase from the previous year.

However, the study also found that 53.6 percent of 2013 graduates either did not have a job, or were considered underemployed, as of April that year. This demonstrates the value of earning a degree in a field that needs qualified professionals.

Choosing the Ideal Course for Your Dream Career

Deciding which university to attend is difficult enough but you will also need to decide which course to sign up for to get your dream job. If you already know your dream career, you’re halfway there. However, you’ll also need to learn how to get to that dream career. Deciding which course to select will depend greatly on the kind of job you want after graduating. This guide will provide you the help you need to select a course that fits the bill:

Meet a career counselor

One of the best things to do to find the right course is to actually get help from a career counselor or a student advisor. A career counselor will be able to guide you in the right direction with good information as well as personal experiences.

Identifying your abilities and interests

Identify your academic strengths and your interests. Begin with a broader search area to decide which field interests you and then decide on the concrete subjects. Self assessment tests can be found online to help you understand what type of career you are best suited for.

Research

Once you know which career is the most suitable for you, the next step would be to research to learn more about the job prospects for that career. Get more information by talking to other students, professors or by searching online. Learn more about the courses you are interested in by checking the websites of various universities. Talk to professionals working in the industry as well as to graduates to get an insider’s perspective.

Course outline

Before signing up for courses at the university, always check the course outline to ensure that it will cover the subjects you are interested in learning. Learn more about the examinations, types of assignments and learning methodology for the course so you know what to expect. You will also need to learn more about the course duration and whether you want to study part-time or full-time.

Admission requirements

Certain courses tend to be very competitive and it may be very hard to get accepted for those courses. Some courses are also too difficult to complete successfully, even if you have good academic capabilities. Be realistic and honest when it comes to course selection. If you are not quite confident of being accepted into a particular university, check similar courses offered at other universities that might be easier to get in.

Cost

While the course you select might be perfect for you in every aspect, affordability is also a crucial factor to consider. Other than the tuition, there might be additional costs for field trips and text books that you may not have accounted for. However, there are several financial aid options available today that may help you so it would be a good idea to look into these options.

The right course can propel you in the right direction and increase your chances of getting a job you always wanted so it is important to spend a considerable amount of time researching and comparing your options.

A Guide to Finding the Right University

When deciding which university to attend, you may receive a lot of instructions, tips and guidance from others. There’s too much information to analyze and understand and much research to do, leaving you feeling lost and confused. There are several factors that need to be considered when selecting a university. This guide will provide you a list of things you should look into so you can find a university that truly fits your academic goals:

Admission requirements

Every university has different admission requirements so you will need to find out if you have the relevant prerequisites to get admission for the program you want to enroll for. Talk to the admission representatives of the university, the guidance counselor or search the university website to get more information about whether or not you will be able to get in.

Location

Moving away may help you feel and become more independent. However, you may want to be close enough to home so that you will have easy access to your family when you need their support the most. An ideal university should be no more than six hours away from your home. The geographical location of a university is a major factor that should be considered.

Cost

One of the most important factors to consider when comparing universities is the cost. Ensure that you include the tuition, program quality, board and room, transportation cost and the cost of social activities, when you calculate a year’s cost of studying at a particular university.

Financial aid

Studying at a university can be quite expensive today and not everyone can get full financial support from their families. It is therefore important to get more information about the financial aid options available at the university. While bursaries and entrance scholarships are available in almost every university, you may want to learn more about the requirements to determine which university will accommodate your financial requirements the best.

Academic program

The quality of programs within the university will vary greatly. For example, some universities offer excellent art programs but may not have equally good technical programs. Learn more about the kind of offers students get after graduation, program duration, class size and other details that will help you understand how well a particular university is suited to your needs.

Student feedback

Talk to other students at the university to learn more about their experience. It is important to understand that every student will have a different experience at the same university. Keep an open mind and gather more information about what others think about the academic programs, professors, job prospects and class sizes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to students.

The university you attend will have a long-term impact on your life and is therefore a decision that should be made after much deliberation. Prepare a list of universities that perform well on all the factors discussed above and visit them all personally. This will help you make an informed decision that works well in your favor.

Top Careers in the US for University Grads

Recent college graduates may be worried about finding a well-paying job that also has good long-term career prospects. To help them, we have compiled this list of top jobs and careers for university graduates in the US. For this list, we used four criteria namely median annual salary, workplace atmosphere, projected growth in the future and current employment details including remuneration.

Another important factor we took into account is bridgeability i.e. whether a university graduate can gain the necessary skills for a career with an extra year or two of re-skilling or study. In our top 10 list, five are related to computers and information technology. Read on to learn more about the top careers in the US for college graduates.

#10 Insurance Agent

Baby boomers are living for longer which means there is increased demand for insurance sales agents. There are about 337,000 insurance agents in the US, earning an average of $63,400 annually. You don’t actually need a college degree for this job as even a high school diploma can get you an entry position.

#9 Public Relations Officer

Though there are only about 201,280 public relations officers currently in the US, this field is projected to grow at a healthy 23% rate by the end of this decade. The average annual salary for a public relations specialist is $61,980.

#8 Management Analyst

Currently there are around 540,000 management analysts nationwide. This position’s unique expertise is required for all industries including nonprofit and government organizations. Projected demand is also high till 2020. A management consultant earns an average of $88,070 per year.

#7 Computer Systems Analyst

This is a hot career which scores high on all of our criteria. Currently about 482,000 systems analysts are employed nationwide and the average annual salary is $83,800 making it one of the more remunerative professions on our list.

#6 Elementary School Teacher

For sheer numbers, this job is unmatched. There are around 1,360,300 employed teachers in the US which is the highest number for a single occupation. Unlike other fields, a teaching job offers a stable career path. There is significant demand for teachers nationwide. In this decade, a large percentage of older teachers of the Baby Boom era are expected to retire which increases the job prospects for applicants.

#5 Computer/Network Systems Administrator

High salary and expected growth rate mark this out as an exciting prospective career. Offices and homes are relying more and more on technology creating a need for graduates with the requisite skills to excel in this job. Currently, there are about 350,000 systems administrators in the US earning an average of $76,320 annually. Additional manpower will be required given the growing importance of cyber-surveillance as well the need to tackle security threats.

#4 Accountant/Auditor

There is great demand for this job nationwide. There are around 1,129,000 auditors and accountants currently employed in the US and the field is expected to grow by 16% this decade. The average annual salary for audit and accounting jobs is $71,040 and this amount has increased by about $10,000 in the last three years since 2010. Graduates with financial aptitude can expect to excel in this promising career field.

#3 Marketing Specialist/Market Research Analyst

Currently there are about 392,800 marketing research analysts working in the US, earning an average salary of $67,380 per year. Though the pay may be less than the top jobs in our list, there is an urgent requirement for qualified candidates with an expected growth rate of 41% by 2020.

#2 Applications Software Developer

Application developers focus on the user side and they test and modify the software to get the desired results. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or computer science and strong programming expertise to excel in this job.

#1 Systems Software Developer

There is higher demand for systems software developers and they earn more too on average ($102,550 per year) which is about $5,000 more compared to an applications software developer.

Summary

We hope our list of top careers for college grads helps you choose the one for which you are qualified and have the requisite skills and aptitude. More than the remuneration, it is one’s passion and desire to excel that will ensure one is satisfied and happy at the end of a long work day.

Earning and Studying - A Tough Balance

Attending college can be an expensive undertaking, but this should not stop you from pursuing your dreams. College expenses have grown steadily over the years, putting costs out of the reach of the average person. Thankfully, student loans and financial aid provided by the colleges can help a lot. For some programs, however these might not be enough.  Some people prefer to leave college without having debts.

For these individuals, working while attending college is the best option. Make no mistake about it, for some people it is very difficult to stay on top of your schoolwork while holding down a job.  Here are a few tips that can help you succeed at studying while working.

Communicate with the Relevant Persons

If you are already working, this should not stop you from applying for and attending college. If your job has flexible hours, discuss your college plans with your employer. It may be possible to reduce or change your hours, allowing you time to attend classes and to study. This way you can keep earning a salary and still have enough time for school.

If you need to get a job while already attending college, talk to your college advisors and lecturers. This will not be new to them, and many of them understand that students may miss or be late for classes due to their job. Sometimes you may be given extra time to hand in assignments or you may be allowed to have someone record the lectures for you.

Examine the Class Schedule

Knowing what your class schedule will be like is important for the working college student. This will help you plan your work, class and study hours.

Proper Time Management

Time management can make or break any type of plan, and it is especially important for working college students. If you want to attend college while working, you will have to good time management skills so that you make the best use of your time. You should create a schedule that includes your job, class times, family and social activities like clubs.

Look for Jobs in Your Field

You might be surprised to learn that companies are willing to hire students in their particular fields. When you apply for a job, you can make it clear that you are planning to attend college or that you are a college student and that your major is in this field. Some companies offer a flexible work schedule that allows student employees to work and study without additional pressure. Another possible benefit is that the company may be willing to cover part or all of your tuition in exchange for your services if you agree to work with them for a certain number of years.

Take College Courses Online

In the past, this might not have been appealing to most people, but the quality of online courses has improved significantly over the years. These days, online classes are just as good as traditional classes in brick and mortar schools. In fact, most online schools are now an extension of traditional colleges offering the same time of courses.  The best way to find the right courses is to search the Internet for reviews of online courses. This option is the best choice for some people since it is generally cheaper, and you will not have any travel and boarding expenses. You can also work regular hours since you can usually do online courses at your own pace and in your own time.

Get Enough Rest

One of the most important aspects of working while studying is making sure that you get enough rest. If you do not ensure that you get enough rest, you will be too tired to perform effectively at work or school. For many college students who work, they will need to cut back on some social activities.

The sacrifices will seem minor when you get your college degree. With strict attention to your schedule and some planning, you can successfully juggle a job and your college education.

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