The Starving Liberal Artist

Let’s dig into this a little deeper. The Princeton Review reports on the Top Ten most popular majors in the country. They even preface their list by warning that these jobs are not necessarily the most in demand in the work force. RED FLAG. How is every top 10 major not included in the top 10 most in demand for the work force? People are going to college to get a job. Period. They’re being mislead. More on that later. Of the top 10 majors, I will leave Education and Business alone. Although they both prepare students for disappearing jobs, and not how to create them for themselves, they are the least of the culprits. Coming in at #9, Political Science: Going to law school? No? Yikes. #8. Communications. This illustrious degree afforded me the opportunity of working in a field for five years where no degree is needed or even helpful, and I’m among the luckiest of my peers. #6 English. The public library is free. 20 to 40,000 dollars a year at private university is not. #2, my personal favorite, Psychology. How many people do you know have a B.A. in Psychology? How many of them are Psychologists? These four (really six) degrees are among the most popular fields of study yet they have virtually no demand in the work force. Of college graduates under age 25 with a college degree in humanities more than a quarter are unemployed. Less than half are working in a position that requires a college degree, and of them, there median annual income is less than $21,000 per year. I loved debating Kant and Mill in my college philosophy class.  I see the value in the humanities and the social sciences.  But value is trumped by cost against $8,244 (average annual 2011 public university tuition) or (wait for it) $28,500 (average annual 2012 private university tuition) per year. Neither of these figures include room, board, fees or books. In my next post I will discuss what this trend does to the labor market and to the greater economy. At this point, anecdotal insight is very helpful. Please comment on what you studied in college and your luck with employment after graduation.


One thought on “The Starving Liberal Artist

  1. But I thought our parents told us we could be anything that we wanted when we grow up Griffin!? Now here we are, lots of nice sounding degrees but nowhere to work. As you alluded to in the beginning of your post, the top 3 of the 10 “hardest jobs to fill” include 1) Skilled Trades/ Technicians 2) Sales Reps, 3) Engineers. The first two do not require a 4-yr college degree; you’d need trade/vocational school, apprenticeships, or internship type experience. The idea of vocational education, where you are taught a specific set of skills to perform a specific job is brilliant!

    However, I also believe if you have solid end game in sight (i.e. doctor, accountant, in my case engineer) college education is beneifical, and (also in my case) even worth it to shell out the private university tuition for.

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