What Is The Most Regretted College Major?

Students who chose a college major in humanities and arts most regret their decisions.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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What field of study students enter into affects their ability to succeed into adulthood. While college majors are a constant subject of debate for students considering higher education options, a new report is shining a light on just what that decision means. Former college students opened up about their most regretted college major and it offers a clear picture of how jobs are connected to school choices. So what exactly is the most regretted college major?

A Federal Reserve Survey has revealed that humanities and arts majors regret their decisions at the highest rate. Nearly half of adults who chose college majors in fields like anthropology, gender studies, creative writing, sacred music, art history, and other degree programs that do not offer solid job prospects regret their decision the most. This is across all racial and gender barriers. Political affiliation has no bearing on this as well. 

Students who chose to go to college and major in engineering are the least likely to regret their decision. This is highly linked to earning potential. While former students who regretted their liberal arts degrees or humanities degrees earned less than those who entered growing STEM fields, STEM workers displayed much satisfaction with their career opportunities and financial earnings. 

This may be linked to the fact that many college art majors are not required to work in the fields they are serving. While many universities may tout the benefits of earning a Masters of Fine Arts or gaining a bachelor’s degree in feminist studies, the truth is that jobs correlated to these fields are not plentiful and often rely on talents and social skills far more than GPAs. Plenty of successful authors and journalists did not go to college to earn their positions. Many companies looking to hire new employees are not seeking applicants who can name a hundred genders, they want productive workers who are skilled in providing a service or specialized expertise in much-needed areas of interest. 

These college major regrets have proven to remain steadfast since 2016. The only major change was in the field of education, which has seen a boom in dissatisfaction. In 2021 teachers displayed a notable increase in their regrets for entering the field.

Another notable trend was the large portion of individuals who regretted entering trade schools and vocational schools. Many of these professionals did not express a regret for choosing to forego college majors and learn a skill, but merely that they did not receive more education. It seems that those interested in learning a trade are later interested in becoming masters of that field as opposed to just remaining line workers. 

By comparison, humanities and arts students are declining. Young adults have realized the importance of choosing a college major with various job prospects. These degree programs are experiencing less interest while STEM fields and other technical skills programs are receiving an influx of students. 

college major

It is no surprise that humanities and arts degrees are the most regretted college majors in the U.S. Higher educational pursuits affect individuals’ ability to provide for themselves. As these educational opportunities offer less job prospects and lower earning potential, students seeking more financial security are flocking to fields that have proven their worth by offering higher pay and increased prospects.