College often comes with regret

A Gallup poll published this week shows that half of American adults who attended some sort of education after high school regret at least one of their key decisions. 

The subjects were asked if they would change what type of degree they earned, what institution they attended, or what their major/field of study was. It turns out that a lot of Americans would change at least one of those. 

Image taken from the Gallup report

Image taken from the Gallup report

  * 51% said they'd change at least one of those decisions

  * The group with the highest rate of regret is that of people who got some college, but no degree.

  * The group with the lowest rate of regret is that of people with a postgraduate degree.

  * Regrets are higher among Black and Asian respondents. 

  * Still, the majority of people say they got a high-quality education.

Read the full reports here and here.

Unfortunately, the poll doesn't come with commentary or examples to get a sense of why people regret their decisions. So there's not a lot of solid "do this, don't do that" advice we can get from the data.

Still, I think there are three big ideas that come out of this:

It's important to be as thorough and careful as possible in your college planning.

If you're gut is telling you that you're heading toward something you might regret, listen to it! The problem is not going to just fade away. Regret is real.

If you start to believe that you're the only one with doubts and that everybody else has got it all figured out, the data proves otherwise.


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