Reprinted here in its entirety.
By Dr. William A. Meehan
President, Jacksonville State University
Weekly Column - Town and Gown
Many college freshmen this fall will be bombarded by great
decision-making moments. Life-altering educational decisions, that is, not
determining which flavor of Ramen noodles to have for lunch. No matter the age
one begins college, the weight of a chosen field of study bears down. Last year
at JSU, only 12.5 percent of our students arrived with an undecided major.
All students will eventually need to decide on a major. The process of
arriving at this decision may not be an easy one, though. Do I choose the degree
that will make the most money or the one that will provide contentment in life?
Or do these two actually meet up somewhere? Based on a survey given to students
across the nation, the Princeton Review has identified the 10 highest sought
after majors. According to this list of “Top 10 Most Popular Majors,”
Jacksonville State University is hitting the mark, offering these 10 majors and
After choosing a major, popular or not, and registering for classes, the next
round of decisions hit. What job options do I have in this field? What are the
most sought after jobs and salaries? It is imperative a student begin
investigating these questions, and more, early in his/her college career. And
instead of waiting until the junior year to complete an internship, why not
complete one after the first year, or get a job as a student worker in a
department at JSU in congruence with a field of study.
Taking the initiative to try out work in a certain field early will give
students the benefit of either reassurance in their decision or time to make a
new one and switch majors. Graduation drops students into a vast and fast-moving
world of possibilities difficult to conquer without preparation.
Sites such as CNN.com rate the top 50 jobs in America, along with their
salaries, that CareerBuilder.com article and advice editor Kate Lorenz says,
“are both growing faster than the average for total employment (13 percent) and
have annual earnings above median of $28,770.” JSU offers those that desire the
chance to be working in the fields on the forefront of this list the opportunity
to do so by offering degree programs nestled in the top five of these 50:
registered nurses ($52,330), postsecondary teachers ($51,800), general and
operations managers ($77,420), elementary school teachers ($43,160) and
Not only does JSU offer classes in the areas most sought after by employers,
but also in those with the highest salaries. According to the National
Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) list of highest salaries paid to
2005-06 graduates, our university offers classes in five of the top ten.
At JSU, we realize the importance of making available the best possible
environment for creating and cultivating success. This decision has been made
and will remain a vital part of our institution.
More information about careers in these fields and others are available
through JSU’s Web site, www.cps.jsu.edu or by calling Career Placement Services
(CPS), 782-5482, or by visiting CPS in Room 105, Bibb Graves Hall.
Erin Chupp, a graduate assistant in the Office of Marketing and
Communications, contributed to this article.
About William A. Meehan
Dr. William A. Meehan is president of Jacksonville
State University. His column, "Town & Gown," appears in The Jacksonville News.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com