UNCW: paying off

Eliza Dillard | Opinion Editor

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These days, college graduates can’t be too picky about salaries when 9.1% of our nation is currently unemployed. According to Payscale.com, UNCW is ranked 21st in the state for schools with the highest undergraduate earning potentials. Schools that rank above us (for obvious reasons) are Duke University (1st), Wake Forest University (2nd), Davidson College (3rd), North Carolina State University (4th), and UNC Chapel Hill (5th). Others that rank above us for not so obvious reasons are UNC Charlotte (6th), UNC Greensboro (16th), and UNC Asheville (19th).

For some, this might not just be a concerning discovery but also a confusing one. Why are people graduating from schools that are consistently ranked below UNCW earning more money than UNCW graduates? Is it because people assume if we graduated from UNCW we are inevitably lazy beach bums, so we don’t get the top jobs? Probably not, but it is all very puzzling.

According to Collegeboard.com, 25% of UNCW undergraduates major in Business/Marketing. Business is generally a promising major to choose in relation to job opportunities and salary earnings. UNCW’s second most popular major is education, though, which realistically doesn’t promise much salary-wise. The confusing thing is, though, that these percentages are practically identical when looking at UNC Charlotte’s profile. So, why is it that same business degree from UNCC more ‘valuable’ than one from UNCW?

Wilmington is obviously an ideal city. People don’t overuse the phrase “Our life is your vacation” for no reason. Once people graduate from UNCW, they sometimes want to extend the vacation. There aren’t an abundance of job opportunities in Wilmington, so some people settle for jobs with low-end salaries just to be in the city they love. On the other hand, Charlotte is a much larger city with a greater number of internship and job opportunities, so this could give UNCC graduates a leg up over UNCW graduates.

 UNCW’s third most popular major is Communications Studies/Journalism, whereas other schools’ third most popular majors are science-related. Obviously, most jobs related to science will pay more than a job working for the local radio station.

We all chose to come to UNCW because we thought it was a good fit and would help us to reach our long-term career goals. Whether we end up earning millions or close to nothing probably has more to do with the major we choose and our working ability than anything else. There are certainly UNCW graduates who get well-paying jobs right out of college, and then there are also those that you will find making your iced coffee at the local Starbucks. No matter what UNCW is ranked on Payscale.com, our future earnings are in our own hands.