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Unveiling the truth about what comes after college

1. All those As make you special.

Students who boast about straight As beware – these days it is increasingly common to receive an A grade in college. These high marks now account for 47 percent of all letter grades given, according to data published in the Teachers College Record.

Private universities in particular hand out frequent high scores. While public schools award As and Bs to about 73 percent of students, private schools award those grades to an astonishing 86 percent.

Also, those educated at schools with a focus on liberal arts have more of an advantage than those involved in a science or engineering program. Southern schools are also much stingier on grades than schools in other geographic locations.

2. You’ve seen the last of mom and dad.

Your transition to dorm life warrants an emotional farewell to the family. But fear not, because it is very likely that your old bed will become home again. According to the New York Times, 40 percent of people in their 20s move back in with their parents at some point.

“I left school and my default option was to return home,” said David Reznick, an entrepreneurship and business management alumnus who graduated in 2010. “I naively thought I could start my own company from there, so I had no job lined up.

“I didn’t have my heart set on anything specific that I wanted to do. It became clear that to become professional, I needed some structure. I was lucky to get a job 30 minutes from home through a family friend.”

Reznick was actually lucky. The employment rate for recent college graduates has fallen since 2009, as have starting salaries. These days, a four-year college degree is “often integral to financial success later in life,” as stated in a U.S. News and World Report article from August 2011.

Reznick spent eight months at home in New Jersey, but when a job opportunity arose in Boca Raton, he was able to move back to Florida into a house with a Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity brother.

“I actually interned with the company working on a research project back for a class at UM,” he said. “Then I randomly got a call saying I would be a help for their new department.”

Postgraduates face the grim reality of the job market, and are forced to adjust their lifestyle accordingly. The time it takes to get settled alone varies from person to person. Many choose to attain a master’s degree to gain further education. Those decisions are likely to pay off in the future.

3. Your major doesn’t matter; just follow your dreams.

Certain areas of study have been linked to high earnings right out of school.

Engineering studies account for seven of the top 10 undergraduate bachelor’s degrees that receive the highest salaries. Petroleum engineering was number one on the annual PayScale ranking, with a starting annual pay of $97,900.

Physics, applied mathematics and computer science were also all in the top 10. That being said, you may want to reconsider abandoning math and science once you complete your requirements.

Aerospace engineering student Ryan Courtney said he hopes to profit from his major. But he said, “I’m not even sure what I’ll do with the degree. I just loved astronauts as a kid and was always good at math and science, so the major seemed appropriate.”

When applying to colleges, people often fail to think about what they will major in. It is important to consider what programs are reputable at which schools.

YOUniversity TV said that the most noted degree programs at UM are in architecture, marine science, business and music. Nonetheless, the most popular majors for bachelor’s degrees are business, biology and communications/journalism studies, according to the College Board.

“I think that if you stick with one major right from the beginning you’re more likely to master it and be successful,” said sophomore Michael Cohen, who is majoring in finance.

August 24, 2011

Reporters

Chelsea Kimmey

Assistant News Editor


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