Even though there are plenty of ways to offset college costs, you still want to graduate with lucrative career prospects. Whether you plan to pay off student loans, buy a house, or travel the world, you need a decent salary to fund your post-academic life. With that in mind, it’s important to choose a major that aligns with your salary expectations.

The Most-Lucrative Majors for College Graduates

When deciding on a college major, it’s best to study the different fields outside of college. Which jobs are most in demand? These often pay better because there’s less competition among workers and more competition among employers.

For instance, Kiplinger identifies computer science, software engineering, economics, finance, and physics as extremely lucrative majors. In all cases, these areas of study offer reasonable starting salaries, excellent salary growth, and a high number of annual job postings.

Other high-earning college majors include petroleum statistics, pharmacology, and health and medical preparatory programs. Additionally, engineers of all stripes tend to outperform other professions across the board.

The Least-Lucrative Majors for College Graduates

According to NPR, some college majors result in careers with low earning potential and other hazards, such as limited job openings. Many of these majors deal with the arts, such as visual and performing arts, graphic design, and drama. While each of these majors can lead to tremendous salary potential, many graduates will fail to make a career out of them.

Similarly, some of the least-lucrative majors involve social work or public service. Theology and human-services graduates might find plenty of work but not much compensation. These industries typically offer low-pay employment, so if you plan to pursue them, you might need alternative ways to generate income.

Pay Isn’t the Only Consideration

Maybe you want to become a pastor at a community church. You know the position probably won’t pay well, but you’re committed to the work. In this case, salary potential might not constitute your top priority. Additionally, jobs that offer low pay sometimes come with other perks. Pastors and priests, for instance, sometimes get free room and board in a parsonage and they experience deep job satisfaction.

It’s also important to look at benefits. Elementary education finds its way onto NPR’s list of least-lucrative college majors, but teachers often receive excellent health coverage and summers off. Maybe that, and educating young people, is more important to you than the numbers on your paycheck.

Researching College Majors

When deciding on a college major, consider the financial investment you’ve made in college as well as your salary expectations and other needs. Think about issues like job availability and working conditions to find the ideal major/career combination for your chosen lifestyle.

While salary isn’t the only factor, it’s important to think realistically. If you’ll graduate with five figures of student-loan debt, you’ll need a career that enables you to satisfy your financial obligations.

Choosing a major is always a difficult process. You have to gaze into the future if you want to make a practical decision. Consider the factors listed above to help you make a decision that will inform your professional future.

Finding a job isn’t easy, and finding one you love is even harder. Unemployment rates have dipped impressively since October 2009, but as many people are “underemployed” (marginally attached or working part time for economic reasons) as are unemployed.

While the economy and the job market itself are somewhat to blame, the secondary issue is that job hunting has changed. Technology has changed the way companies post jobs and evaluate candidates, and that means job searching needs to change, too. More than 70 percent of people are hired through networking, versus just 15 percent who apply through job boards. That doesn’t mean you should avoid using job-search websites, but some are better than others.

Here is a list of the top job-search websites you should be using.


Indeed is a free job-search website that gets more than 180 million visitors every month. It is an aggregate site, meaning it pulls listings from company websites as well as various job boards. The site also sends you job alerts on request or you can subscribe to an RSS feed. Indeed also has tips for job searchers and a mobile app to help you search on the go.


Glassdoor is another great job-search site. It is free to use and provides helpful information about companies and their cultures, while also providing details on what to expect at a certain company or in a certain role. In addition to helping you find new job opportunities, Glassdoor also helps you learn what to expect at interviews

USA Jobs

USA Jobs is the website where the federal government posts all available jobs. You can search by job title or industry and find information about pay and benefits as well as eligibility. If you are interested in federal work, have civic experience, or have a government security clearance, this is a great site.


LinkedIn has its own job-search website. It is free to use and it’s helpful. LinkedIn Jobs looks at your profile and gives you suggestions based on your location, level of seniority, and industry as well as the company size you have typically worked for in the past. The site also looks at your connections and recommends companies you may be able to network with based on your existing connections.


While not a job-search website, Twitter deserves a mention. Most recruiters and many companies tweet job openings the minute they become available. Twitter is free to use. All you have to do is set a search alert for your ideal job title as well as target companies and industry recruiters.

Job-search websites are a great place to find new opportunities, but many also provide opportunities for networking and offer helpful advice on how to improve your job search. Rather than select a single job-search website, check multiple sources and network with other people in your industry.

You don’t have to dip into your bank account to get help with your study skills. The Internet offers myriad free study aids, both on websites and in mobile apps, to help you nail your next test and gain better command of the material. Try out a few of these free options to super-charge your study efforts this semester.

Quizlet: Create Helpful Quiz Sets for Free

A 15-year-old student created Quizlet for his own study purposes and eventually grew it into an online study tool that millions of students use every day. You can play games, create flashcards, and create unique quiz sets to help you maximize your information intake and absorption. Teachers even use Quizlet to augment their lectures in the classroom. College students can find plenty of value in Quizlet, but it also benefits children in elementary, middle school, and high school. If you prefer to study socially, use Quizlet with your friends and classmates to make it more interesting.

iStudiez Lite: Get Organized for Success

If you have trouble building strong study routines, let iStudiez Lite help you get organized and develop healthy habits. It’s an organization app for college students that works on iOS (try Studious as an alternative for Android users). The pro version costs $2.99 but the free app offers plenty of value, enabling you to schedule tests, assignments, meetings, and other important obligations. You can also use iStudiez Lite to remind you to attend to a scheduled task by setting an alarm. Whether you stay out too late partying, or you forgot about a project due tomorrow, alarms can save you from last-minute scrambling. The more you use the app, the better your study habits will become.

Evernote: Keep Your Notes & Clippings in One Place

When you save your lecture notes as a different file after every class or accidentally drop a binder full of loose-leaf handwritten notes, your study prospects take a nosedive. Evernote allows you to organize your notes and clippings in one place. Search for specific notations, capture notes from the Web, and share your notes with study partners. The basic version is free while upgrades add more functionality, such as email compatibility, password protection, and version support.

ExamTime: Expand Your Study Aids

From flashcards and mind maps to quizzes and progress tracking, ExamTime offers all the study tools you need in one convenient app. Use the study planner to organize your progress toward an upcoming quiz or test, then brainstorm for an essay with the mind-mapping tool. You can also use ExamTime in groups, whether you’re working on a project with other classmates or organizing a study session for finals. Share and compare study study tools so everyone has the best opportunity to succeed in class. You can even take quizzes at the same time to add a competitive edge to your studying workflow.

Study tools don’t have to be expensive to buy or difficult to use. These free apps and websites will help you maintain great grades and help you learn effective study habits.

An internship offers the chance to gain valuable experience and insight into your chosen career field, all before you graduate from college. However, just like many aspects of education and business, internships have changed greatly in the last few years. While traditional opportunities still exist, the virtual internship has gained popularity.

Defining the Virtual Internship

A virtual internship is similar to the regular variety except that you participate remotely. You’ll use your computer to complete your scheduled tasks for the employer and to stay in touch. You don’t have to report to a physical location; instead, you complete your internship off site. If you think this might offer the best approach for you, consider these factors before you sign up.

1) Will Your Career Aspirations Align With a Virtual Environment?

Some industries seem built for virtual internships. According to Hack College, positions in sales, marketing, and information technology lend themselves to remote internships. However, if you’re planning to work in manufacturing or film-making or sports medicine, virtual internships are not likely the best fit. Think about the tasks you will complete in your future career. Do they require a hands-on approach or can you accomplish them remotely? Answering this question will help you decide if a virtual internship will provide the right match.

2) Will a Virtual Internship Cause You to Miss Out on Important Benefits?

An in-person position offers many benefits for college students. For instance, if you’re studying languages in anticipation of a career as a foreign diplomat, you might get more value from an internship abroad. By traveling to another country, you’ll enmesh yourself in that culture and learn about the ins and outs of travel, both of which will inform (and perhaps enhance) your future career. Other benefits of an in-person internship include the ability to interact with colleagues, the opportunity to build networks, and the chance to test yourself in a professional environment. Compare the pros and cons of virtual internships as you make your decision.

3) What Type of Employer Do You Want to Work For?

In today’s world, you have to consider many different factors when applying for jobs. For instance, if you want to work in the private sector, do you envision yourself working for a small start-up in a bohemian loft or for a major multinational corporation in a skyscraper or for a mid-sized business in an office park? Maybe you’d prefer to work in the public sector, perhaps for a government agency or a non-profit or a political action group. Use your aspirations to inform your choice of internships. Many of the companies that offer virtual positions are small or young companies with limited liquid capital and a finger on the pulse of technological advancements. If this sounds like your ideal situation, maybe a virtual internship will offer the best environment.

4) What’s Your Personality Type?

College students perform well in virtual internships when they crave solitude and quiet. If you’re an introvert who is self-motivated and requires little management, consider the virtual route. However, if you thrive on human interaction, high levels of activity, and close direction, being on site for an internship is probably your best option.

Whether you’re looking for a full-year or summer internship, virtual options add another level of flexibility to your choices. Consider all internship options to ensure you have the best opportunities in preparation for your future career.