Could Your College Major Keep You Out of the 1%?

Could Your College Major Keep You Out of the 1%?

Could the secret to success lie in sophomore year of college?

That's about the time most American students declare a major in between a busy social calendar and a deep desire to take classes "outside my comfort zone."

But the choice you make then could determine whether or not you're destined to become part of the 1%, according to data from the Census Bureau's 2010 Community in America survey.

Economics and Biology Reign

The New York Times' Economix blog narrowed down the top college majors likely to help you gain entry to the 1%. And the top five, in order, are:

  1. Pre-med
  2. Economics
  3. Biochemistry
  4. Zoology
  5. Biology

The data also shows the majors of the people already there. The most common college majors held by members of the 1%, in order, are:

  1. Biology
  2. Economics
  3. Accounting
  4. Political Science & Government
  5. English Language and Literature

Note that this data only presents evidence for college majors with more than 50,000 people, and that your chances of gaining entry to the 1% do change with your circumstances. For instance, one in every eight lawyers is in the 1%, but it's more like one in three if they work for Wall Street firms.

Time to Change Your Major?

For most of us, college majors are a done deal. Not taken into account in this ranking are the characteristics and abilities that go along with choosing a major. Perhaps biology majors are a self-selected crowd of particularly motivated, ambitious people who would find success no matter what their major.

The survey also does not consider which fields make you happy, which ones you show natural talent for or those that strike your interest. And the data certainly isn't a reliable prediction of your future. So if your done deal is Art History, there's no need to be overly worried about your prospects—your major isn't everything.

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