ROI of College Majors


As mentioned in previous articles, college is an important investment. The time and money you spend can determine your entire future. Not only is the college you choose an important part of your investment, but your major is, arguably, the more important aspect of your overall investment.

The main question to consider before choosing your major: What is the ROI of my major?

Now, for those of you that aren’t familiar with this term, ROI, which stands for Return Of Investment, is defined by Investopedia as a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments.

Essentially, it’s a consideration of how worthy your purchase (in this case your degree).

To be extremely blunt, some majors are just more valuable than others. Their value depends on the demand in the job market.

For example, if you choose to major in something such as Sewing, there may be a good chance that such a skill is in low demand. Therefore, the amount of money you’ll receive after graduation (if you seek out a job within that field) will likely be much lower.

What’s the ROI of your major? This infographic displays the top and lowest paying popular careers

Now, keep in mind that while this idea of ROI applies under any circumstance (unless somehow you didn’t need to pay for college—which is excellent), this idea is most important if you are currently (or are contemplating) using loans to pay for college, which I’ve talked about numerous times. If you want to understand more about loans and some strategies to deal with them, check out these two articles I wrote: Loan is a Four-Letter Word and What are Loans.

I’ve already touched on it a bit in those aforementioned articles so I won’t extrapolate much here, but once you graduate, you’ll be expected to pay back loans and the amount you can pay back after college will determine how long and overall how much you’ll spend in the long run.

Take your time during your high school years (or afterward if you decide to take some time off before college) to really consider how worthwhile your major will be.

Many currently advocate that under some circumstances, it might be more beneficial to seek other forms of education besides the traditional 4-year college program depending on your intended major.

For example, if you wish to major in a language some believe it might be more beneficial to use the money intended for college and study abroad for a few years.

The mentality is that you’d save much more money, speak the language fluently and more efficiently, have firsthand experience with the culture, save time, and you’d be debt free after returning.

It’s important to truly do the research and think long term. Overall, many experts seem to agree that college is a wise decision for those interested in becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or any career that requires specific secondary schooling or certification after undergraduate school.

However, don’t let that dissuade you from considering the many majors that don’t fall under that narrow umbrella.

Personally, I think balance is a valid requirement. If you choose a major that may not make you happy or that doesn’t interest you solely for the sake of money, you’re likely going to fight an uphill battle.

Likewise, if you choose a career path that is extremely enjoyable but lacks any income and creates stress in every other area in your life as a result, the overall outcome will be disastrous.

Seek to meet somewhere in the middle and look for what’s interesting yet pays enough that’s sustainable to you.

Thanks for reading. And as usual, stay positive!

Resources for additional reading: