It’s time to Break It Down!
As the header notes, I will feature, occasionally, the work of a guest blogger in this space. Today, the third time in the eight years I have been producing the blog, is one of those instances. This week, I am honored to introduce to some and present to others, a talented and insightful writer, who presents a cogent discourse on an important topic.
Mr. Anthony Kent pulls no punches in framing a pointed discourse about the value proposition of pursuing a college education. This is always a timely discussion, and I’m confident you will derive key information upon reading it.
I enjoyed Anthony’s work, and I am delighted that he generously shared his wisdom and insight with the Break It Down community, as a guest blogger. I am certain you too will find his message compelling and thought provoking. Feel free to add your responses in the Break It Down comment section.
Anthony Kent is a celebrated, talented, and renowned author, motivational speaker and Senior Project Manager. He labored for distinctive world-class organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Wachovia, Ally Bank, and BB&T, which attributed to Anthony’s skills and expertise to diversify and empowered his colleagues to “strive for excellence”.
He developed a wealth of knowledge in project management, process excellence, and risk management. His certifications include: Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
Anthony obtained internships through INROADS at Sara Lee and IBM. Anthony Kent is a Charleston, South Carolina native, although he was raised in the flourishing city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Kent graduated from East Mecklenburg High School. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University and an MBA from Winthrop University. Anthony acquired a passion for investing at the age of nineteen; moreover, he is an advocate for the promotion of financial literacy.
His previous philanthropic work includes, the Substance Abuse Prevention Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, FASFA Day, United Way Young Leaders, Charlotte Area Fund, and Habitat for Humanity.
Mr. Kent is also a proud member of the Beta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
“The Youth Advisor: A Young Adult’s Guide to Success” is the author’s first non-fictional manuscript. The parable focuses on preventive measures for our youth that will keep them from making costly mistakes, while giving them additional tools to help achieve financial success.
The book provides factual stories and advice to make sure young adults graduate from high school and college successfully, while budgeting money effectively; so that he or she may purchase a car, buy a home, and invest money for retirement.
Getting What You Paid For
Value is what you expect to get when you pay for a product or service.Next to purchasing a home, a college education will be one of your biggest investments. The average cost of tuition and fees per year is $30,094 at private colleges, $8,893 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.[i]
Students with large loans will spend much of the rest of their lives paying off debt accrued during their college years. The commitment is similar to that of a 30-year $130,000 home loan minus taxes and insurance.
Are you willing to take on this kind of responsibility? If so, there is one important thing you must do first.
Choose the right college major. The right choice increases your chances of securing and keeping employment, for after graduation you need to position yourself in a healthy financial situation—so you can pay off your loans sooner.
Selecting Your Major
In choosing your college major, you must first identify your interests. What are you good at doing? The best approach to capturing your thoughts is to write them down. Let’s start here. In the table below, write down activities you enjoy doing or being around in the first column. Your list might read, ‘Computers, Music, Sports, Animals, Building, Reading, and Writing.’ In the second column, note the courses you took in high school. This list might read, ‘English, Chemistry, Algebra, Music, Physical Education, and Theater.’ In the third column, write down the grades you received and in the fourth column, write down Yes or No if you enjoyed the course. The objective here is to draw a correlation between your performance in class and what you enjoy doing. For example, if you did well in math-related courses then majoring in finance could be a good option.
Have you considered the type of lifestyle you want to live? When you choose a college major, you are imagining a future lifestyle. So go ahead and picture the type of home you want, the cars, number of children, vacations, plus entertainment events you will want to attend. If you are accustomed to or want the finer things in life, you will need to select a major that pays well.
The following table lists the median lifetime earnings for common majors.
|Median Lifetime Earnings for Common Majors[ii]|
|Academic Majors||$ Millions|
|Accounting and Actuarial Science||1.48|
|Marketing and Marketing Research||1.35|
|Business Management and Administration||1.33|
|Early Childhood Education||.75|
To learn more about the potential earnings related to majors, conduct research on the jobs that align to them. There are many websites that allow you to conduct salary searches based on various job titles, a company or location.
Glassdoor.com, Salary.com and BLS.gov are sites where you can view salaries. BLS.gov provides an Occupational Outlook Handbook with career information about hundreds of occupations. The Occupational Outlook Handbook allows you to browse occupations by the highest paying jobs, fastest growing (projected) and most new jobs (projected). The link to the Occupational Outlook Handbook can be found at the end of this article.
Pay close attention to the differences in salaries as you conduct research. Salaries will vary depending on the company, industry and location. Location is always a major factor, as the cost of living varies from city to city.
How long will it take to secure a job? The answer depends on the relationship your school has with employers, the demand for your major, and your desire to find a job.
Schools provide Career Services. A goal of Career Services is to help you find a job. (Find more info on Career Services in the chapter on College Resources.)
Schools specialize in particular majors. Top-notch employers pay attention to how the schools are doing, and hope to hire top students from good programs. The match between employer and student—the hire—is made through the Career Services office.
There’s a detail you need to investigate as you decide whether to apply to a particular school. Learn which employers are hiring students from the school with your major. This level of detail in your education decision means you have seriously begun the process of building your chance to land one of those jobs.
The demand from employers looking to hire students from your major will of course relate to job availability, which in turn relates to basic economics: supply and demand.
An easy way to increase your chances of securing employment before you graduate is to familiarize yourself with majors and choose one with high job-offer rates.
The chart below lists ten top college majors that offer jobs before graduation.
|Academic Majors with at Least One Job Offer by Graduation[iii]|
Career Services will recommend that you apply and interview at certain companies, but it will be up to you to put forth the time and effort to secure a job.
Another route toward finding your first job is online research. Check Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, ZipRecruiter.com, Indeed.com, and SimplyHired.com.
The point to keep in mind: You are ultimately responsible for your future.
Education Decisions and Income Results
What education decisions are you making? Every decision concerning your education must be a calculated decision—because your education decisions determine the amount of money you will make. Your salary must provide your living and also repay your student loans. Compare the principal you will owe and the salary you can expect to earn. In this way you make a good education decision…based on “Getting What You Paid For!”
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Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:
[i] Trends in College Pricing 2013 (2013): 3. CollegeBoard, 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
[ii] Hershbein, Brad, and Melissa Kearney. “Major Decisions: What Graduates Earn Over Their Lifetimes.” The Hamilton Project. The Hamilton Project, Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.
[iii] Adams, Susan. “The College Degrees That Get The Most Job Offers.” Forbes Magazine, 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.
Occupational Outlook Handbook: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/