Students struggle choosing a major

Pay or passion? Choosing a major and a career based on salary or based on interest is one of the toughest decision any Seton Hall student must make.

“I certainly believe that given the very high cost of a college education-what students and their families have to go through to put a child through college- that (salary) is a major consideration,” said Dr. Anthony Haynor, an associate professor of sociology.

Graduating SHU seniors concerned about starting salaries can look to career outcomes from the class of 2015, which revealed nursing majors earned the highest listed salary with more than $55,700 on average.

According to the SHU website, salaries by major on average are: finance $50,878; diplomacy $49,500; management $49,265; education $43,654; psychology $41,944; and public relations and journalism $40,411.

Haynor added that pay should not be the only deciding factor when students choose their major since students may later regret choosing a major based on starting salaries.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a study conducted by Arizona State University economics professor Matthew Wiswall and Basit Zafar of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, interviewed New York University students about why they chose their majors. When students saw the salaries of their major they were asked to estimate what they would earn in the future.

Sixty-one of the 495 students interviewed at NYU decided to change their intended major after seeing the data of their estimated future salaries.

While there was not available information regarding the most and least popular majors at Seton Hall from the Office of the Bursar, students from varying majors commented on what factors helped them to decide their career paths.

Lyssa Buissereth, a junior biochemistry major at Seton Hall, said she didn’t know what career she wanted when she left high school. But she said many students do take a major based on what their future salaries would be.

“Literally all I hear are people saying ‘I want to be a doctor. They make the money’ or ‘I want to be
a surgeon, they make the money’,” Buissereth said. She added that she loves her major and future pay had no influence on her career path.

DeVante Rodriguez, a sophomore social and behavioral sciences major, chose his major to achieve his goal of becoming an athletic trainer.

“The sports aspect of my major is what drew me in, not just the pay,” Rodriguez said. However, Rodriguez added that students who go to college for future high salaries isn’t problematic since, “Everyone wants to make money.”

Anthony Longueira, a sophomore accounting major, said he selected his major because he valued financial security.

“I chose it (accounting major) because I knew it was something I was capable of doing and I knew the pay would be substantial coming out of college.”

On choosing majors based on pay rather than following a passion Longueira said, “You can be regretful and unhappy that you can’t run around and do whatever you want all the time, but sometimes you have to be an adult and provide for yourself.”

Will Sayegh can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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