Chart of the Week: How Much Is That College Major Worth?

May 08, 2015
Paying for College, Research, Current Events, Chart of the Week

With many high school seniors shifting their gaze towards college and what to major in, I thought this chart from Wall Street Journal might be a good conversation starter:


Assignment for students:

  • Ask students to draw three insights from analyzing this chart. Some questions to get them thinking:
    • Compare median pay of high school graduates with median pay of college graduates of all majors.
    • Which majors tend to draw highest pay levels?  Why do you think this is the case?
    • What do you think differentiates folks at the 25th %ile of pay vs. 75th %ile?
    • These are salary figures for bachelor’s degrees.  What could you do to further increase your earning power?
    •  Should you choose a major strictly based on the pay levels?  What other factors might you consider?

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.