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  1. #101
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    From Payscale.com:

    2012 ROI Rankings: College Education Value Compared

    With all of the expense and time required to attend college, does earning a degree pay off long-term? Yes, depending on which school you choose. PayScale has ranked more than 850 U.S. colleges (for both in and out-of-state tuition when applicable) by their college tuition ROI - what you pay to attend versus what you get back in lifetime earnings.
    http://www.payscale.com/college-education-value

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    Quote Originally Posted by madm View Post
    With all of the expense and time required to attend college, does earning a degree pay off long-term? Yes, depending on which school you choose.
    And what you major in, especially if you don't get into a top 20 school: http://www.payscale.com/college-sala...t-pay-you-back
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    And what you major in, especially if you don't get into a top 20 school: http://www.payscale.com/college-sala...t-pay-you-back
    Damn, my fiance's major was top 3, but he quit the industry. At least he's still doing something related to the top 10...

    We have a high school student interning in our lab right now, hasn't decided which college or major she's going to do. I told her, "If you like math and physics at all, go for engineering. It pays well and we will never lack for need of them."

    I'm kind of sad I hated math and physics in college.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    And what you major in, especially if you don't get into a top 20 school: http://www.payscale.com/college-sala...t-pay-you-back
    Yikes. Those poor humanities and social science majors.
    Creating drama!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Damn, my fiance's major was top 3, but he quit the industry. At least he's still doing something related to the top 10...

    We have a high school student interning in our lab right now, hasn't decided which college or major she's going to do. I told her, "If you like math and physics at all, go for engineering. It pays well and we will never lack for need of them."

    I'm kind of sad I hated math and physics in college.
    Geography is a great major right now, especially if you go into GIS. There are more jobs than there are people to fill them, and the pay is good. That's an option for people looking for four-year degrees who don't want to go the math and science route (although you do have to take a lot of statistics, especially for GIS). There is a wide variety of opportunities in different fields, too.

    I don't know that we will never lack need for engineers. South Korea would say otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffisjeff View Post
    Yikes. Those poor humanities and social science majors.
    Tell me about it .

    You can make those majors work out for you, but you have to have a plan fairly early on and focus on developing some specialized applied skills while you are in school. Employers right now are looking for people they don't have to train. And there are a lot of smart people who can think out there; what else have you got?
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Geography is a great major right now, especially if you go into GIS. There are more jobs than there are people to fill them, and the pay is good. That's an option for people looking for four-year degrees who don't want to go the math and science route (although you do have to take a lot of statistics, especially for GIS). There is a wide variety of opportunities in different fileds, too.

    I don't know that we will never lack need for engineers. South Korea would say otherwise.
    They could always start tearing down bridges and building new ones. Our infrastructure is pretty shoddy at the moment, but I'm not sure if public sector engineering pays well. I imagine the government would get overpriced private contractors, at any rate.

    I find interesting that chemical engineering is still on that list. My uncle is an educated chemical engineer (has his PhD in it, but maybe that's why - he was overqualified?) and had to quit the industry because he couldn't find a job.

    Yeah, I'd lump stats into math too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Tell me about it .

    You can make those majors work out for you, but you have to have a plan fairly early on and focus on developing some specialized applied skills while you are in school. Employers right now are looking for people they don't have to train. And there are a lot of smart people who can think out there; what else have you got?
    Yeah I think I had one thing going for me since I was NOT at the top of my class - I learn protocols ridiculously fast. Show me once, let me do it once on my own, and then off I go. The issue there is that I still needed someone to give me a chance, so they could be a good reference.
    Last edited by Anita18; 10-01-2012 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Hahaha, oops typo that changes the meaning of my entire second paragraph...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    They could always start tearing down bridges and building new ones.

    I find interesting that chemical engineering is still on that list. My uncle is an educated chemical engineer (has his PhD in it, but maybe that's why - he was overqualified?) and had to quit the industry because he couldn't find a job.
    I've heard that a lot. That and a couple of other things make me wonder about that list. Biomedical engineering is at the top of some other lists I know of, and I don't even see that in the top 10.

    I think the BLS might be a better place to find reliable stats: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

    ETA: Eys, chemical engineering may pay well if you get a job, but the projected growth rate is : http://www.bls.gov/ooh/occupation-fi...wth=&submit=GO
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I don't know that we will never lack need for engineers. South Korea would say otherwise.
    Likewise India.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post

    I find interesting that chemical engineering is still on that list. My uncle is an educated chemical engineer (has his PhD in it, but maybe that's why - he was overqualified?) and had to quit the industry because he couldn't find a job.
    I agree with you - in my area of the country, I do *not* advise students to pick chemE, unless they love it. Too many graduates, not enough jobs.

    I also agree with you re: your uncle's PhD making him unemployable. Often in engineering, a masters (plus work experience) is valued, but more than a masters can educate you right out of the industry. What did he end up doing outside of the industry?
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    Likewise India.




    I agree with you - in my area of the country, I do *not* advise students to pick chemE, unless they love it. Too many graduates, not enough jobs.

    I also agree with you re: your uncle's PhD making him unemployable. Often in engineering, a masters (plus work experience) is valued, but more than a masters can educate you right out of the industry. What did he end up doing outside of the industry?
    Definitely depends on how narrowly you define Chemical Engineering. I started out studying ChemE (switched to SW later), and most of my class that I still have contact with ended up in the medicinal industry (which is big in Denmark). As a biochem engineer, unless you want to do QA, it seems you NEED a phD - a lot of them got a phD. Organic chem seems to be the same way, whereas 'traditional' chemical engineering does not.

    those people are actually the only ones, in any field, that have done a phD for employment reasons, and not for the love of research (different if you want to be in academia, of course)

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    I agree with you - in my area of the country, I do *not* advise students to pick chemE, unless they love it. Too many graduates, not enough jobs.

    I also agree with you re: your uncle's PhD making him unemployable. Often in engineering, a masters (plus work experience) is valued, but more than a masters can educate you right out of the industry. What did he end up doing outside of the industry?
    Commerce software. He makes a crapton of money at it now (this is the uncle that leases BMWs), so he's not hurting that his education was kind of for nothing.

    My boss has also said that a PhD in the hard sciences often makes you overqualified for every job except academic research, where you have to teach.

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    A bargain, relatively speaking, but it's a state school. Huge lecture classes, multiple choice tests and no critical thinking.
    That's quite a generalization. I went to a very large (27,000 plus) state school, and I routinely had classes that were 10-15 students. That wasn't just when I was an upperclassman, either - my freshman honors English "colloquium" was specifically limited to 12 people. All of my major and minor classes, journalism and visual communication design, were fewer than 20, and pre-journalism majors got JMC classes as freshmen. I was able to work with my professors closely, and got plenty of attention as needed. However, both those programs require students to apply and be accepted into them. I'm sure the experience was different for English majors, of which there were probably 10 times the students as JMC or VCD.

    Most of my "large" classes, which were the liberal ed requirements like rocks for jocks and sociology, were 40-60 people. I think the largest classes I had were US History, which maybe had 100 people? Many of whom never even showed up until exam day. In the case of sociology or micro-econ, I was MORE than happy to be lectured in a crowd and take a multiple choice test. I effing HATED micro-econ. HATED.

    Did I think critically?
    Last edited by vesperholly; 10-02-2012 at 10:14 AM.

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    Personally I think it's a mistake to pick a major based on where the jobs are and nothing else. I dated a guy getting a PhD in Chemistry and the area he was studying in was hiring like crazy when he started but by the time he got the degree the bottom had fallen out of that market. So he was stuck.

    I think it makes sense that if you like to do something but don't love it and the market is good in it to lean that way. But doing something you won't really enjoy just because there are jobs in it tends to backfire IME. Even if the job market stays the same, you won't be a good employee most of the time and so you won't advance as much.
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vesperholly View Post
    That's quite a generalization.
    Really? Huh.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Personally I think it's a mistake to pick a major based on where the jobs are and nothing else.
    ITA. My advice to students is always to major in things you really want to do, but have a Plan B. Minors in something that will give you an edge in your field. Focus on something that will give you some sort of specialized skill.

    But if you're talking in terms of whether or not a degree pays off in a well-paying job or not, which is, I believe, what we were doing, then the major counts for a lot.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffisjeff View Post
    Yikes. Those poor humanities and social science majors.
    Sadly, many fields such as anthropology are returning to the days of wealthy students who can indulge themselves in interesting and fun knowledge. This was the absolute norm for anthro and archaeology until the 70s and 80s with the onset of cultural resource management. Every building project required an archaeological assessment and there was an explosion of CRM companies and direct increase in enrollments. Those days are gone and many of those companies have closed as the contracts dried up. Same with marine biology or paleontology. Every body loves dolphins or dinosaurs. Better be able to fund yourself in school and have a plan B to support yourself afterwards because 1 out of 50 or so grads will actually find employment. I knew a highly published paleontologist who was supported for years on post-doc contracts until a teaching position finally opened up. He was on the last possible post-doc and was looking at getting his high school teaching certificate just to find a job. It's all well and good while you're in college or even grad school until the money runs out, you're in your 30s and have to start supporting yourself and a family. That's not to say people shouldn't enter the fields; they just need to be fully informed about the realities. I've had too many students whining that "my mom told me I could be anything I wanted." Their moms left out those minor details about you can be anything you want, you just may not ever have the chance to actually do it.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

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    Here anthropology is a growth industry. Every anthropology student I know (probably 20 or so) that's willing to do field work has a good job. They sometimes have camp work which isn't for everyone but they get paid decently and are generally pretty happy with their jobs.
    "Beautiful things don't ask for attention." -The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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    There're plenty of small upper division classes at the large state U down here. The honors program has small classes throughout I gather.

    True, classes are huge for things like History 101 and Computer science 101. But in many of those classes and from my experience, the standard and grading were tougher (at least when I went), as the profs screened for the good students.
    Anyway, I don't see a need for small classes for intro computer or math classes. If you are willing to do all the odd-numbered exercises in the book and check against the answers at the back, you'll learn the material quite well. You just need the prof if you can't figure out something. (That's how I learned calculus).

    The history classes I had, despite the large classes, required essay writing, essay exams, and reading a decent amount of work. History was one of the few depts that regularly made me rewrite stuff. I thought the history 101 prof was tougher than the English 101 prof, which gave Bs and As on most assignments. (That one had a small class.) There was a reason students in my state regularly do history classes in community coleges instead--avoid the reading and essays!

    Quote Originally Posted by vesperholly View Post
    That's quite a generalization. I went to a very large (27,000 plus) state school, and I routinely had classes that were 10-15 students. That wasn't just when I was an upperclassman, either - my freshman honors English "colloquium" was specifically limited to 12 people. All of my major and minor classes, journalism and visual communication design, were fewer than 20, and pre-journalism majors got JMC classes as freshmen. I was able to work with my professors closely, and got plenty of attention as needed. However, both those programs require students to apply and be accepted into them. I'm sure the experience was different for English majors, of which there were probably 10 times the students as JMC or VCD.

    Most of my "large" classes, which were the liberal ed requirements like rocks for jocks and sociology, were 40-60 people. I think the largest classes I had were US History, which maybe had 100 people? Many of whom never even showed up until exam day. In the case of sociology or micro-econ, I was MORE than happy to be lectured in a crowd and take a multiple choice test. I effing HATED micro-econ. HATED.

    Did I think critically?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    Every body loves dolphins or dinosaurs.
    I think people get disappointed, too, when they find out that most of the jobs that do exist in marine biology have a lot less to do with dolphins and a lot more to do with microscopic things that live in mud.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgobluegirl View Post
    I think people get disappointed, too, when they find out that most of the jobs that do exist in marine biology have a lot less to do with dolphins and a lot more to do with microscopic things that live in mud.
    What exactly spurred the rash of kids dreaming of marine biology anyway? I swear that 5 out of 10 freshmen wanted to be marine biologists for my entire teaching career--in a landlocked state no less. My 17 year old nephew has just given up the notion of marine biology. Is there a children's show about it that I missed?

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    Free Willy?

    ETA: Seriously, I guess kids who are steered towards science but don't care greatly for physics and math will be drawn towards biology, but why marine bio and not a job at the zoo I don't have a clue
    Last edited by jlai; 10-04-2012 at 04:13 AM.

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    Maybe they imagine most of the work is on a ship or on a beach where they can tan or surf on their lunch hour.
    3539 and counting.

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