If you are financially savvy, then you may have heard the expression “being in the red” versus “being in the black”. Being in the red means that you are in a deficit situation whereas being in the black means that you’ll be in a good financial situation. Choosing your major as an international student is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make in your educational – and possibly your working – career. This decision will give you the tools to set you up professionally for a particular industry or niche. But be careful, this can also dictate your earning potential once you graduate and when you are further into your career.

When choosing your major, many international students think about what they enjoy learning about or possibly what they are good at. It is important to think beyond your studies and consider the following:

  • Will you enjoy working in this field as a professional?
  • What is your earning potential with your degree after you’ve graduated?
  • How much money will you need to pay to earn your degree?

It’s hard for international students who invest their time, money and energy into living abroad to not consider these questions – especially when so many people’s parents are involved in the process. Even so, it’s important that when choosing your major you consider both your interests and financial prospective.

After all, if you don’t like your work, you will be less likely to succeed. And, let’s be honest, you will have a much lower quality of living. At the same time, you are earning a degree that will set you up for your financial future. Consider the earning potential after you graduate and 5 years down the line. Weigh this with the amount of money you’ll be putting into your degree, and ask yourself whether it’s a wise financial decision. These days international students can pay well over $30,000 USD per year on a degree – ask yourself, does my major set me up to cover the cost I pay to obtain my degree?

Last year, most international students – roughly 22% – studied business and management. This was followed by 19% of international students studying engineering. Many of these degrees have high earning potential and put students on their way to seeing black!

What degree are you planning to pursue with the new school year upon us?