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Student Loan Advice For New College Students

Updated on March 2, 2014

Choose Your Career Wisely

Career choice can be a tough decision for many students, thus it's common to hear first time college students asking the question -- what should I study? I always advice friends and family members, especially those who do well in health sciences, to pursue a career in health care. The reason I often advice them to do this is based on these three simple but logical factors:

  1. The nation's aging population
  2. The unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors of many Americans
  3. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Projection

The Aging Population

Based on finding, people 65 years of age and older, accounts for approximately 9% of the population in 1960, but almost 13% by 1997. Projections for the year 2030 indicate that 20% of the population will be 65 or over.

No doubt, the aging population affects the demand for health care because older people encounter more frequent and more prolonged spells of illness. Research findings revealed that specially, those 65 and older consume about three and one-half times as much health care as those between 19 and 64. in turn, people over 84 consume almost two and one-half times as much health care as those in 65 to 69 age group. It's a known fact that health care expenditures are often extraordinary high in the last year of one's life.

Also, it was previously predicted that the baby boomers ---76 million people born between 1946 and 1994 would start turning 65 by 2011. This is expected to create a substantial surge in the demand for health care.

Unhealthy Lifestyles and Behaviors

Substance abuse helps drive the cost of health care. Poly-substance abuse such as alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs damages one's health, and is therefore, an important component of the demand for health care services. Alcohol is also known to be a major cause of injury-producing traffic accidents and liver disease.

It's believe that approximately 25 to 40 percent of all general-hospital patients are hospitalized due to alcohol related complication. Heavy use of tobacco increases the probability of cancer, heart disease, bronchitis, and emphysema; illicit drugs are a major contributory factor to violent crime, health problems in infants , and the spread of AIDS. Additionally, users of illicit drugs make more than 370,000 costly visits to hospital rooms each year according to findings.

As you can see unhealthy behaviors are also another major reason factor for the overall high health care costs in the U.S. A study conducted by the Department of Transportation in 1996 revealed that auto crash victims who weren't wearing seat belts at the time of an accident, incurred an estimated $5000 more of health care expenses than victims who were wearing seat belts. Failure to wear seat belts contributed an additional $68 million of health care expense in just the seven states studied.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Projections

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for 2010-2020, industries and occupations related to health care, personal care and social assistance is projected to have the fastest job growth between 2010-2020. Jobs with Masters degree are expected to grow the fastest, while those requiring a high school diploma will experience the slowest growth over this time frame.

We are all aware of the fact that today, college education can cost an arm and a leg. According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, for the 2010-2011 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $13,600 at public institutions, while at private non-profit institutions the costs were $36,300 --- almost three times more, and 23,500 at private for-profit institutions. Whether you are paying out of pocket, getting help from family, borrowing private or government loans, this is certainly a lot of money that you simply cannot afford to waste.


Understandably, there are numerous other great careers out there, and not everyone excels in math and science, or even have an interest in health care. However, my advice to you, don't spend hard earned money on a college degree that's not marketable. After graduation, you shouldn't have to struggle or relocate just to find a job in your field of study. After completing college, a lot of students ended up accepting low-income jobs in other fields just to make ends meet and to repay their student loans. However, if you carefully choose a unique area of study, often times you can avoid all of this. So, if you are about to start college and is currently asking others or yourself the question --- what should I study? I suggest you choose a health related field, if you have a passion for health sciences.

I.McFarlane 9/7/2012


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    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 5 years ago from Philadelphia

      Hi SimplyMSW, If you have noticed, in my opening paragraph, I specifically mentioned"especially those who do well in health Sciences"Clearly, if you don't do well in or don't have a Passion for Health Science, then of course you should try to pursue a career in some other field. However, if you have that passion for health sciences why not go for a health related degree!

    • profile image

      SimplyMSW 5 years ago

      While you make a great case for why a person should enter the healthcare field, I saw no mention in your article about PASSION. You stated that one should not spend years and tens of thousands of dollars chasing a degree that is not marketable... well, I believe that marketability is only half of the formula. You must also pursue a field that you are passionate about, one to which you feel you can make a significant contribution. This includes healthcare. We discussed tis before: How many people have you encountered in whom it is clear that they do not really want to be healthcare professionals or who are burned out? How many times have you come across someone who is only doing something for the money? How poorly do they perform? How unhappy do they appear? So I say that it makes even LESS sense to enter a career just because of the earning potential it poses or because of what some long-range statistics state; rather, find something you enjoy doing. Because I believe it was Harvey MacKay who said, "Find something you love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life." ;-)