According to the NACE Salary Survey 2014 edition, engineering and health-related majors are making the most money after graduation, while social science and communication majors rank low on the scale.
So, what majors are SUNY Oswego freshmen applicants choosing to study? Of the 10,000 applicants for the fall of 2014, 494 are applying for broadcasting and communication, which earn an average starting salary of $47,400. Approximately 850 students are applying for psychology where most beginning salaries earn $36,000.
Let's not forget the students applying to majors that will pay them back. Business administration has 847 applications for the incoming freshmen class. Although, not much higher, applied mathematics majors make approximately $55,000 starting salary.
"I think income, the job market, and television/social media all play a role on what students select for a major," said Breanna Smith, an admissions counselor at SUNY Oswego. "Yes, students want to make money, and their parents want them to make money, and that is sometimes the bigger push."
"I chose to major in chemistry because I wanted to make money," said Megan Carroll, a sophomore at SUNY Oswego. "But, I realized that wellness management put me on a more direct path to my dream job, which is to become a physician's assistant."
In contrast, Gary Morris, director of career services and the Compass at SUNY Oswego, said students are looking at work-life balance and benefits, more than at salary.
Smith feels that the glamorization of medical and law dramas, as well as the number of cop shows, such as Grey's Anatomy and CSI, influence the majors that students choose.
"I chose to study PR because it sounded cool," said Saad Benanni, a senior public relations major at SUNY Oswego. "Then when I began taking courses I realized it wasn't as entertaining as its made out to be, and is certainly a lot of work." He has an account supervisor job lined up at Yelp in New York City for July 2014, which isn't exactly public relations, but it's "close enough."
Multiple types of engineering and computer science, are the majors making the most money, according to the NACE Salary Survey.
SUNY Oswego offers computer and electrical engineering that earns a starting salary of $66,000. Computer Science majors earn $52,000 as a starting salary and increase to $63,000 mid-career.
"We have seen our computer science and electrical and computer engineering numbers increase because their is a higher demand for those jobs," Smith said. "The job market plays a role as well. Our education numbers have been decreasing because currently in New York State it is hard to land a teaching job."
Of the 10,000 applicants for 2014, 2,131 are undeclared. Smith said SUNY Oswego has many options for undeclared students and tells them that they aren't alone when they express concern about not knowing what to do with their lives. "Being undeclared is good to look at all the options and sample different disciplines," said Morris.
Smith was a business major when she entered SUNY Oswego and quickly decided it wasn't for her. After taking a general education psychology course she "fell in love with it" and changed her major. Smith tells students who are worried about declaring a major that "SUNY Oswego has general education requirements that give you a variety of classes and might introduce you to a subject that you never knew you would like."
Eighty percent of Oswego State alumni are in their chosen career field. Ninety percent of graduates move on to graduate school or have a job a year after graduating with their bachelor's degree.
SUNY Oswego has 110 majors to choose from, ranging from communication to computer engineering, and many options in between. SUNY Oswego also creates the opportunity for students to double major, or select a minor and still graduate within four years, in most situations. "College is what you make of it," said Morris. "It all depends on the student and their thought and effort."