(NEXSTAR) – Lots of Americans leave college wishing they could have a do-over, a nationwide survey found.
It’s not just the heavy drinking on game days or all-nighter study sessions people regret, the Federal Reserve Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking found. Many people end up regretting their choice in college major.
The Washington Post’s Department of Data analyzed the findings of the Federal Reserve survey and found nearly 50% of people who studied humanities or the arts eventually regretted that choice. Not far behind, about 45% of people surveyed who studied social and behavioral sciences also wished they’d picked something different.
More than a third of people who studied education, business, law and life sciences also regretted their choice. Over 40% of people who went to vocational school reported regrets, as well.
According to the newspaper’s analysis, the number of student loans people had didn’t seem to affect whether or not they had regrets.
Perhaps hoping to avoid such regrets (or massive student loans), fewer people enrolled in college in 2020 when compared to ten years prior. In 2020, 19.4 million students were enrolled in college or university courses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). That figure was down 10% from 2010. The COVID-19 pandemic likely also played a role in declining enrollment that year, as many college campuses shut down and temporarily switched to distance learning.
The major people were least likely to regret, the Federal Reserve survey found, was engineering. Despite that popularity, engineering is still a far less common choice than other majors, NCES says. Three times as many people graduate with a degree in business than with a degree in engineering. However, the data shows it is a growing field of study from year to year.
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And even though it ranked lowest when it came to regrets, about a quarter of engineering students still wished they’d done things differently, the Washington Post reported.