Choose these college majors if you want to be financially successful

  • College seniors who are on the brink of entering the work force are more optimistic about their job prospects if they majored in certain subjects.
  • All students can boost their job prospects by thinking strategically about their careers, either through additional course work or internships, ahead of graduation.
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College seniors' confidence in their abilities to find jobs this year depends a lot on their majors.

A new survey from personal finance website Credit Karma found that graduating seniors who majored in political science and government, engineering or teaching and education are the most confident about their career prospects. In contrast, those who concentrated on arts and performing arts or liberal arts and humanities feel the least secure about their futures, the survey found.

Credit Karma's survey, which was conducted in April, included more than 1,000 parents and students, ages 18 to 72.

Major
Reported being “very” or “extremely” confident in their 10-year financial future
Political science/government 92%
Engineering 90%
Teaching/education 86%
Computer science 77%
Physical sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) 77%
Nursing/health professions 75%
Business/economics/finance 74%
Social sciences (anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc.) 72%
Liberal arts/humanities (English, comparative literature, languages, history) 55%
Arts/performing arts 50%

The key takeaway for college students is to think about "what are the skills that might help you thrive with the degree that you love," said Katie O'Connor, director of content at Credit Karma.

That includes potentially pursuing double majors, internships or other strategies that will help boost your prospects at graduation.

"Don't not major in performing arts, but look at your career holistically," O'Connor said.

Overall, 57 percent of college seniors said they feel ready to be financially independent. Parents surveyed were even more confident, with 67 percent indicating their child is ready for financial independence.

That comes as the unemployment rate is at a 17-year low at 4.1 percent.

But high-earning parents of graduating seniors were less likely to say they were confident in their children's financial futures.

Fifty-three percent of parents who make $150,000 or more a year said their college graduate will be ready for financial independence after graduation. That compares with 72 percent of parents earning $100,000 to $149,999 and 68 percent of those making between $50,000 and $99,999.

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