Countdown to Graduation Day 2: Picking your major based on passion vs. potential income

Alec Lanzas, Sports Editor

Many consider choosing a college major to be the first step toward a career path. Over the years, there has been constant controversy over whether majors should be chosen based on passion or potential of a higher a salary later in life. There is, however, no denying the fact that certain majors often lead to more future financial success.

According to CNBC, the highest paying college major is Computer Science, with a median base salary of $70,000 a year. However, the next four on the list are all engineering majors: Electrical Engineering ($68,438), Mechanical Engineering ($68,000), Chemical Engineering ($65,000) and Industrial Engineering ($64,381).

“Potential salary has had something to do with my decision as far as a major goes,” senior Alexander Gazo said. He will attend Washington University in St. Louis and plans on majoring in biology. “Even though my decision was partially affected by money, I have always wanted to be a surgeon, so the passion is there as well.”

Although STEM majors seem to be the highest making in regards to salary, other popular majors maintain high rates of full time employment. According to US News and World Report, Accounting and Finance have two of the highest employment rates, both above 50 percent. Many often overlook their chances of employment because of an emphasis on salary.

“I plan on majoring in finance and marketing because I want to work with real estate development in the future,” senior Noah Rolnick said, who plans on majoring in Finance and Marketing at the University of Florida. “Even so, I know a degree in both finance and marketing will come with many career opportunities, offering jobs that often times pay well.”

According to, Fine Arts majors only make $35,000 to $56,000 a year, far below other majors on average. Majors include acting, musical theater and dance, among others.

“Of course I want to be able to buy myself nice things and be able to afford travel expenses and live in New York City,” senior Brooke Sterling said, who plans on majoring in acting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. “However, in my profession I’d rather make amazing art and change the world through my voice and ideals rather than worry about my salary.”

At the end of the day, majors do matter; whether it is majoring in what you are passionate about or majoring in what will lead you to success, if you immerse yourself into your studies, success will sooner or later in life.