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The Biggest Regrets People Have About College (and How to Avoid Them)

Sad college student sitting on a bench in park

Sad college student sitting on a bench in park Half of Americans regret some aspect of their college experience. | iStock.com/Ljupco

More than half of Americans who’ve gone to college regret at least one decision they made regarding their education, a recent poll conducted by Gallup and the Strada Education Network found.

Though most people had positive things to say about the quality of the education they received, 51% of the roughly 90,000 people interviewed for the survey confessed to having second thoughts about the school they attended, the degree they earned, or their field of study. Other surveys have found graduates regret not getting more work experience while in school, not studying enough, or how they paid for their degree.

Is there any way to stem this massive tide of regret? Giving students more information before they enroll might help. “Education consumers’ regret about their previous decisions could be read as a signal to improve the resources available to inform future education decisions,” noted the authors of report on the Gallup survey results.

Understanding the specific areas most likely to give people pause later on could also help reduce the chances of future regret. College students, here are some of the biggest regrets people say they have about school and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

1. They studied the wrong subject

More than one-third of people Gallup surveyed said they regretted their college major. The more money a person earned or the older they were when they graduated, the less likely they were to regret their major. Those with a degree in a STEM subject were also less likely to have second thoughts about their major, compared to those who studied business or the liberal arts or who had a degree in a public service field.

Next: How to avoid regretting your major

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