In an informal poll of University of La Verne students, 12 out of 12 people said they choose their major based on passion and interest, rather than salary potential.
Of the 12 students, one is studying educational counseling, two are majoring in criminology, eight are majoring in psychology, one undecided and one is double majoring in studio arts and Spanish.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the most popular majors in 2014 were business majors and majors related to health and social sciences.
For Jessica Guerrero, a graduate student who is studying educational counseling, the choice to study education was easy.
“I had a hard time navigating the school system, so I want to help kids navigate that same system,” Guerrero said. “It was my calling, and you don’t go into education for money.”
Many students echoed the same sentiment of helping children that Guerrero had.
Kennedy Bonner, junior psychology and criminology major, said that her choice in majors will allow her to work closely with children.
“I come from a place and grew up around crime, especially with youth, and I want to help fix it,” Bonner said.
According to PayScale’s College Salary Report, the highest paying jobs as of 2019 are petroleum engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, operations research and political economy.
None of the students in the informal poll are majoring in these majors.
Despite not being in one of the highest paying majors, Mariana Brana, freshman studio arts and Spanish major, said that she prefers to do something she enjoys.
“For me, art has always been what I wanted to do ever since I picked up a pencil,” Brana said.
In the study “Beginning College Students Who Change Their Majors Within 3 Years of Enrollment,” by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 30% of students change their major at least once. The study also found that 31% of social science majors change their major.
Despite this, junior psychology major Alexis Ontiveros, has not changed her major and does not plan to.
“People have told me that I’m going to change my major eventually, but I still haven’t,” Ontiveros said.
Ontiveros said she does not want to change her major due to her passion for it.
While 11 people had a decided major, freshman Carla Galdamez did not. Galdamez said that she has not found what she wants to focus on yet.
“When I do decide on what to major in, I want to find something I’m passionate about,” Galdamez said.
David Gonzalez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.