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September Snapshot—Thoughts On Undergraduate Studies And Careers

Many students (and their parents) worry about getting a job after graduating from college. Students sometimes feel obligated to choose a particular major even if they are not particularly interested in that area of study. Among the myriad of majors offered at colleges today, 20 percent of students are choosing undergraduate business. According to the National Center For Education Statistics, business majors outnumber their nearest rivals (health/medical science and social science/history) almost two to one.

Employers recognize the value of a liberal arts education.

However, research shows that when students pursue their interests in college, they still come out on top with a job after graduation. Last September, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the value of a liberal arts education and its impact on increased later career earnings.

Employers value the skills of those who get a broad liberal arts education. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, four of the top five traits that hiring managers seek in candidates are “hallmarks of a traditional liberal-arts education: teamwork, clear writing, problem-solving aptitude and strong oral communications. Mindful of their longer-term needs, many employers hire humanities and social-sciences graduates even if such majors aren’t explicitly targeted during recruiting.”

Teamwork is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education.

Many graduates of top universities and liberal arts colleges go into consulting, banking, finance, or other business-related fields although their colleges do not offer an undergraduate business major.

According to the Liz Kirschner of the Chicago based investment-research firm, Morningstar, “It’s easier to hire people who can write—and teach them how to read financial statements—rather than hire accountants in hopes of teaching them to be strong writers.” Morningstar has hired many humanities and social sciences majors since it was founded thirty-plus years ago.

For further information on majors and careers, visit the Higher Ed Data Stories Blog.






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