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Koeppel, David. "Choosing a College Major: For Love or for the Money?

" The New York


Times. The New York Times, 05 Dec. 2004. Web. 21 Mar. 2017.

Many everyday citizens occasionally wonder if they have made the right career decision. The
factors affecting children today include; rising tuition cost, an uncertain economy, and salaries.
These pressures allow little room for personal academic exploration. Often faced with the
challenge to get a job quickly to pay for money gone into college. David Koeppel, a freelance
journalist who regularly writes for the New York Times business and job market section, explores
the intersection of higher education and the workplace. The target audience of this article
includes primarily current students who will be deciding a major.

Koeppel begins with an account of a woman who has since graduated and is questioning her
academic and career choices after experiencing some time with the major she graduated in.
Koeppel also provides another account of regret with Jieun Chai, a graduate who wishes she took
the language classes she was interested in. Along with the graduates who share experiences in
regretting the time not spent on personal fulfilling endeavors, Koeppel also brings in accounts of
people who have not been pressured by society. Alysha Cryer, who withstood pressures from her
family and friends and found success and happiness in the career that stemmed from her desired
major, and Priscilla Molino, who is on her own path toward her career goal. These accounts
provide positive experiences when following dreams, and negative experiences when dreams
were neglected.

Opinions from people who hold value in the career fields such as the director of the career
services at a university who sees students choosing their future careers. Background from Paul E.
Harrington also provided an insight into how tuition costs could be affecting student decision.

Other quotes: Ms. Steinfeld said. Schools should not become factories. There are hundreds of
majors out there, and it's almost always a mistake to base the decision on money
alone.(Koeppel)

Parents paying even a portion of college costs may wonder if a major in philosophy will pay the
bills. And if their children change majors, it could extend college from 8 semesters to 9 or 10, at
an additional cost. (Koeppel)

Students feel tremendous pressure over the choice of a major, which could be an important
career decision, when many are just beginning to understand themselves. (Koeppel)

I think that this article is good starting point that takes the question as a whole and splits it up
into the different factors that I need to research into more. The article is a little bias in the
opinions it provided, but it did address mostly all sides of the issue. The article was also easy to
read for someone who needed an understanding and insight into the topic.
Xia, Xiaoyu. "Forming Wage Expectations through Learning: Evidence from College Major
Choices." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 132 (2016): 176-96.
ScienceDirect. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

This journal was published recently in October of 2016 by Xiaoyu Xia. She is an assistant
professor in the Decision Science and Managerial Economics Department in Business School of
the Chinese University of Hong Kong and received her Ph.D. in Economics from University of
California, Berkeley. Her field includes labor economics and applied econometrics where she
works on projects that focus on education, marriage and working decision of young workers.
This paper fits into her field of study and explores how young people develop their expectations
of what they want out of their education and career. The target audience for this paper most
likely includes other economists and possibly people in the educational field.

Her sources include data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey, that
follows the lives of a sample of American youth born between 1957-64. The survey started in
1979 and has data up to 2012 providing a wide pool sample for Xias studies.

She calls attention to how family background, specifically, affects students educational
decisions. She explores family background and current economic status affects young people's
decisions to a major. She supports her claim by including models that show that a college
student is more likely to choose a major associated with the occupation of a family member who
earns a higher wage, especially when the family member earns a high wage at the time the
student chooses his/her major. She also delves into how disadvantaged family backgrounds can
affect a student's ability to choose a major.

Concluding her research, Xia finds that, If a family's socioeconomic status strongly influences a
student's expectations of future earnings, students from disadvantaged families may never have
the opportunity to know the actual return on higher education or the wages offered by certain
professions (Xia 190). In accordance to a student choosing high wage jobs, she reminds us that,
Previous studies found that business, engineering, and science majors are offered large wage
premiums, suggesting that many students may earn higher wages if they choose alternative
majors (Xia 190). From these previous studies, she extracts an estimate that there is a 40%
gap in annual earnings between college graduates who major in business and those who major in
humanities (Xia 190).

Other quotes: Previous studies found that business, engineering, and science majors are offered
large wage premiums, suggesting that many students may earn higher wages if they choose
alternative majors. Yet, enrollments for many high-wage college majors stay low and those for
low-wage majors remain high (Xia 190).

Students reliance on parental earnings to learn about the returns on education is one causal
mechanism that explains the intergenerational persistence in educational attainment and
occupational choice (Xia 190)

However, the estimations in this study reveal that young people respond strongly to perceived
earnings opportunities. When their choices are restricted by their limited information about labor
market conditions, they are unable to respond to the increasing market demand, despite their
preference for higher earnings (Xia 190).

I was very surprised that this journal provided me with so much information. At the beginning I
was dreading by the thought of dissecting a long, hard-to-read article, but the information that
this article provided me was worth it. I trusted the credibility of the author and found the data
sampling credible. There was still some difficult vocabulary, but the sentences were easy to
dissect in the context of the article. I thought the journal answered the hypothesis the author was
asking and this can be used to talk about family background in my thesis.
Beggs, Jeri Mullins, et al. "Distinguishing the Factors Influencing College Students' Choice of
Major." College Student Journal, vol. 42, no. 2, Jun 2008 Part A, pp. 381-394.
EBSCOhost. 25 Mar. 2017.

The college student journal compares previous studies that indicate what major factors influence
students to choose majors, to the author's own study that was conducted. Taking from multiple
sources of study, it was found that the main factors include sources of information and influence,
job characteristics, fit and interest in the subject, and characteristic of the major/degree.

Information and influences included such preconceived ideas as parental pressure and parental
occupation. The outside study shows that this preconceived notion is not as expected as society
makes it out to be, earning 4% due to parental pressure. Job characteristics include the
considering the financial aspects of a job such as starting salary, high earning potential, benefits,
etc. This factor resulted in a surprising 7% who picked their major based on it earning potential
versus the 68.4% of the respondents who chose their major because of the interest in the field.
The characteristic of major/degree related to the accessibility and easiness to obtain a degree
from the major, which resulted in a not-so-shocking 4%.

The authors include instructors from Illinois State University. These include Jeri Beggs, a
professor in the department of marketing, who explores ethics education and ethical decision
making, John H. Bantham, an associate professor in the Management and Quantitative Methods
Department, and Steven Taylor, a professor in the Marketing faculty. The target audience is
addressing recruiters and advisors to bring light of the issue, and then concluding their article
with some ideas on how to better help the students in their decision-making process.

Through their own research conducted the authors found that their results differed slightly from
the previous surveys. Along with the previous factors found by the other studies, new factors
arose including psycho/social benefits pertaining to the interest in future psychological and social
benefits from their career. There was also the introduction of financial influence involvement
when selecting a major.
The survey concluded that order of importance for all students: 1. Match with Interests, 2.
Course/Major Attributes, 3. Job Characteristics, 4. Financial Considerations, 5. Psycho/Social
Benefits, and 6. Information Search (Beggs 381). The authors praise the high level of
importance to the genuine interest in the career.

Other quotes: Anecdotal evidence leading to our undertaking this study seems to imply that
some (perhaps many) undergraduate students employ strategies of indecision as opposed to
strategies of cognitive decision-making in that they "back into" a major rather than actively
choose a major, often by employing heuristics. For example, a student may choose a particular
major because "I don't want to sit at a desk all day" or "I don't like math." (Beggs 381)

Perhaps financial success is more salient to seniors because very soon they will be making a
transition to a professional work environment. Also, males rated financial success more
important than females. This may be due to a societal issue in which males are more likely to
view themselves as the primary breadwinners for their families. (Beggs 381)

The availability of information has exploded along with internet capabilities and the assumption
that the information is available if students want it. However, the questions remain as to whether
(1) young people are even interested in the information, (2) are they able to assimilate and
synthesize the information, and (3) are they developmentally able to use the information to make
decisions about their future? (Beggs 381)

I had originally thought that this journal was going to strengthen my argument but these results
are actually against my argument in that student are affected by outside societal pressures. In
this study it was shown that students are generally more aware of what the career involves and
supports their genuine interest into the career. These results dont immediately shut down my
argument because this study focused on a select college environment of undergraduates. I can
explore the physiological aspects of the outside societal pressures on individuals.
Korkki, Phyllis. "The True Calling That Wasnt." The New York Times. The New York Times,
17 July 2010. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

People are under the disillusionment of the career path that they want. They are told what to
career path to choose or dont put in any thought into what they actually want to do. Korkki
provides quotations from the interview of Nicholas Lore, founder of a career coaching firm. Lore
believes that people approach their career in an almost primitive way. Choosing a career without
any thought often results in everything that is needed in life, but there is no guarantee for a career
in something that will provide you interest in. Lore compares lucrative jobs, like occupations in
law and medicine, too often result in burnout and feeling of repetitiveness which lead to
unhappiness and interests elsewhere.

Phyllis Korkki, a business journalist, and now an assignment editor for the New York Times as
well as a published author of her novel. She includes the majority of the article to Nicholas Lore,
a social scientist, Wall Street Journal national top-10 bestseller, and originator of career coaching
and founder of Rockport Institute, an organization that guides mid-career changers and younger
clients to practical new careers. She briefly mentions Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a
resume service and job search campaign management, where she has experience in career
management, recruiting, and executive coaching. Robert I. Sutton, a professor of management
science at Stanford University, is briefly quoted to support Korkkis argument. The article could
be targeted to anyone looking for a long-term career, this includes college students and people
who have careers now and might not be completely happy in that occupation.

Lore, being the main voice of the article, observes that people place too high a value on the
external rewards of a job, like money, prestige, and power. While these can be important, he said,
a jobs intrinsic nature the types of tasks you do, the skills these require and the perceived
meaning and value of your work are more vital to a sense of fulfillment (Korkki). Take away
the greed factors and there wont be anything left to look at. Careers should be chosen with
interest in mind first, then let the other factors follow.
Other quotes: Unhappiness with your career choice goes to the root of your identity and your
sense of authenticity (Korkki).

Im not ready to say theres a true calling, but I think theres a better calling for many of us
(Korkki).

People who find a better calling will experience fewer of those moments and will be
happier knowing that what they do is compatible with who they are. (Korkki)

This article was easy to read from the understanding that it was written to be published on the
New York Times for the everyday american to read. This article supports my argument by
providing the knowledge that there are people who don't choose a career they are satisfied with
first go-around. She used parental pressures as an example to why some can sometimes end up
in the wrong major. This article provides support for that factor that can be included in my
paper.
Smith, Larry. "Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career." TEDxUW. University of Waterloo,
Ontario. 12 Nov. 2011. TED Conferences. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Larry Smith starts off his Ted Talk with a charismatic statement of how he is going to explain
why the audience will fail to have a great career. He states that people just give excuses for why
they cannot pursue their passions. With the backing of excuses like only people with luck can
have a great career and that people decide not to pursue their passion. Often people have interests
that they pick and choose to delve into but dont have passion. He characterizes them as missed
opportunities. That people keep making up more and more excuses, like relationships and
children. He acknowledges that there is nothing wrong with wanting these things, but why can't
you have all of it, because you are afraid. He calls for the audience to think about whats going to
happen when they give up their dreams, have kids, and then that kid has dreams they want to
pursue. He questions what someone would say in that situation under those circumstances where
the only thing left to say is that they were too afraid to follow their dreams.

Larry Smith, professor of economics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, is a well-known


storyteller and advocate for youth leadership. Smith coaches his students to find the careers that
they will truly love Smith was invited to the Ted Talk where he encourages others to not waste
their talents. The target audience was students who he encourages to follow their dreams with
passion before it is too late.

Smith first claims that, no matter how many times people tell you, If you want a great career,
you have to pursue your passion, you have to pursue your dreams, you have to pursue the
greatest fascination in your life, you hear it again and again, and then you decide not to do it.
He then goes on to talk about how this is fear, laziness, and thinking having a great career is too
difficult. If we don't have the passion that drives us into our dream career, then we are going to
fail.

Other quotes: Passion is your greatest love. Passion is the thing that will help you create the
highest expression of your talent. Passion, interest it's not the same thing. Are you really
going to go to your sweetie and say, Marry me! You're interesting.(Smith 5:31).
You're going to fail, because because you're not going to do it, because you will have
invented a new excuse, any excuse to fail to take action (Smith 8:59)

Great friend, great spouse, great parent, great career. Is that not a package? Is that not who you
are? How can you be one without the other? But you're afraid (Smith 13:40).

I really liked this Ted Talk. It made what I was thinking about the issue very clear and he was
able to say it in clear and concise terms. I found a lot of what he said, I could use about the
physiological aspects of what happens when people don't pursue the career they want.
Belkin, Douglas. "Today's Anxious Freshmen Declare Majors Far Faster than their Elders; Weak
Job Market and High Debt Loads Prompt Broad Shift Away from Intellectual Exploration." Wall
Street Journal (Online) Mar 20 2015 ProQuest. 02 Apr. 2017,

Douglas observes that college is no longer the intellectual playground it used to be. After the
recession, many students go into college looking for a job from day one. Douglas observed from
a number of randomly chosen colleges nationwide that students were much more likely to
declare a major in their freshman year. Many students who were pressured into choosing a major
their first year ended up switching majors which increased their time spent in college, increasing
the likelihood of dropping out. Now colleges are trying to push into a system where students are
not allowed to declare a major before their sophomore. While colleges are trying to provide more
leeway for exploration of interest in college, many students are still not able to break away from
the societal pressures. Douglas brings in students who waited to declare and often felt lost
when talking to other eager classmates who had decided what they were going to do in their
career.

Douglas Belkin, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, covers higher education and national news.
Belkin brings in voices from Jon Boeckenstedt and David Spright, both involved in enrollment
and career counseling at their respected schools. The article strengthens its claim by bringing in
two quotes from two college students sharing their declaring path. The article aims to target
students who are considering majors now as well as reaching out to colleges and encouraging
more career exploration for students.

The trend stems from the current financial pressure in todays society where, 82% of todays
freshmen said college was essential to being very well off financially, up from 73% in 2006--and
37% in 1971. The main goal of college is no longer to explore other interests, but rather to get
be ready to enter the competitive corporate world.

Other quotes: There's been a shift from hippie culture to corporate culture (Belkin).
Mr. Spight's advice for first-year students: Don't rush into a course of study the day you arrive
on campus. How do you know that you don't want to major in say, anthropology, if you've never
taken an anthropology class? he asked (Belkin).

Zack Bauer said he felt the pressure almost as soon as he walked onto campus. It's not overt.
No one is saying you have to pick a major immediately--it's more like a silent pressure, Mr.
Bauer said. Pretty much everyone here knew what they wanted to study before they got here
(Belkin).

This article was an easy read and was presenting the evidence of colleges no longer being about
the experience. I felt that this is one of the better sources for my paper as it provides clear,
relatable topics for me to also address in my paper. The article also included how schools are
changing, which was an aspect that I hadnt originally thought to include.
Dame, Jonathan. "Study: Many Choose Major Not Aligned to Interests." USA Today. Gannett
Satellite Information Network, 15 Nov. 2013. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

Students today are often faced with many aspects that influence their career choice and push
them to choose majors that do not interest them. Students are often worried about securing a job
rather than being concerned about what they really want to do. Bobby Sinisi, a senior at Boston
College, shares his experience and opinion on the reality that students tend to focus on end goals.
The aspect of planning future endeavors is neglected when students are forced to quickly decide
what they want to do in their career path. Students are often unaware of what the career entails
academically and while they begin to explore they might find themselves in the wrong area and
forced to quickly re-decide their future. Research shows that students who major in subjects
they're passionate about, tend to do better academically. Dame explores how colleges are
beginning to assist students in ensuring they are making the right career decisions, while some
are not.

Jonathan Dame, a senior at Boston College, explores the aspect that students are not choosing
majors they are interested in. The article includes many quotes from real students on their
opinion into the matter. Dame also includes adults in the enrollment and career advising field.
The college section of the USA Today is not entirely credible, but the sources chosen to be
included in the article seemed to be credible.

Dame reports, from a study conducted by the non-profit ACT, that, nearly one-third of this
year's freshmen class plans to major in something that doesn't match their interests. This
alarming amount supports that there is a problem of students choosing majors they are not
interested in.

Other quotes: Should I be more concerned about coming out with a job than being concerned
about what I really want to study? he asks. Laying that balance is pretty tricky (Dame).

Out of the more than 1.2 million 2013 high school graduates that provided data on their
interests and planned major, only 36% chose a major that was a "good" fit based on their
interests, while 32% selected a major that was a "poor" fit (Dame).

I'm not sure how valuable the educational process would be if students were not informed and
enlightened to make choices different than the ones they would have made before they arrived
(Dame).

This article provides insight into how students actually feel, rather than putting the students
opinions behind numbers and statistics. I hope to include some of the student anecdotes in my
paper to provide pathos and step away from the facts a little bit. The article was okay to read, it
was a little disorganized, but provided me the research I needed in a well-enough presented way
that will help me in my paper.