These are the college degrees that students regret choosing the most

Choosing the right career path is akin to setting sail on an uncertain sea, and as the waves of the job market grow ever more unpredictable, the question echoes louder: “If you were to start over, would you choose the same career?” This dilemma haunts many students as they grapple with the challenges of the professional world. While the assurance of success in one’s chosen field dwindles, a stark reality persists—some degrees lead to more regret than others, with employment prospects often steering the ship.


The Bitter Taste of Regret

In a survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) in 2020, more than one in three 2014 graduates expressed regrets about their academic choices five years down the line. The regret is most pronounced in degrees where the pursuit of employment becomes a source of lament.

Notably, Tourism stands out, with a staggering 45% of graduates from five years ago expressing that they would not tread the same academic path. This sentiment prompted a deeper exploration by ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn News España, revealing that 44% of university-educated job seekers harbor regrets about their chosen specialization.


The Degrees of Discontent – Unraveling the Regret

Diving into the data, specific degrees emerge as more regrettable than others. Journalists lead the pack with an astonishing 87% expressing regret, followed by Sociology (72%), Art (72%), Communication (64%), and Education (61%). Over half of graduates in fields like Documentation and Audiovisual Techniques also admitted to feeling that they made the wrong choice five years after completion. Conversely, fields like Medicine, Nursing, and Mathematics witness less regret, with over 80% expressing a willingness to choose the same path again.


The Why Behind the Regret

The motivations behind regret are diverse, but a common thread is employment prospects. Degrees like Journalism, Sociology, Communication, and Education, which top the regret charts, often link dissatisfaction to limited job opportunities, low salaries, and a lack of growth prospects.

Many regretful graduates express a hypothetical desire to pivot towards more technical fields such as Computer Science. It’s evident that Humanities and Fine Arts, associated with lower employability, face the brunt of regret, while careers in IT and Telecommunications enjoy greater success in the job market.


The Most Sought-After Careers

National studies reveal that the most sought-after degree is still Business Administration and Management, accounting for 10.6% of job offers. Following closely is Industrial Engineering, representing 4.6% of total offers, and Computer Science holds the third spot at 3.8%. On the flip side, Psychology, Hospitality, Tourism, and other less demanded degrees hover around a mere 1% demand. Disciplines like Geography and History, Political Science, and Journalism also lag in demand.


The Humanities Conundrum

Globally, Humanities programs such as History, Language and Literature, Philology, and Philosophy have witnessed a drastic decline in enrollment ranging from 30% to 50%. Students are gravitating toward more scientific and, notably, technical disciplines. In the United States, enrollment in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health programs surged from 400,000 in 2010 to over 800,000 in 2020.


The Rise of Philosophers

Interestingly, there’s a growing trend in young individuals choosing to study Philosophy in Spain. Ministry of Universities data reveals a nearly 10% increase in the number of Philosophy students in the last three years. Major tech companies like Google, IBM, and Microsoft are recognizing the value of philosophers for their critical thinking and creativity. Figures like Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s founder, Peter Thiel, PayPal’s co-founder, and Mauricio Lapastora, former director of Toshiba and Fujitsu Siemens, all hold degrees in Philosophy, showcasing that the spectrum isn’t black or white.



The career voyage, fraught with uncertainties and regrets, demands a nuanced approach. As regrets surge, the sea of opportunity appears more turbulent. The call for a career reset is louder in certain fields, while others find themselves in calmer waters. The ever-evolving job market landscape compels graduates to navigate the waves with wisdom, considering not only the practicality of their choices but also the intrinsic value of their chosen paths. As degrees rise and fall in demand, and as regret and satisfaction ebb and flow, the journey of career choices remains an intricate dance on the unpredictable tides of the professional world.

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