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Dan Brandt still has $32,000 in student loan debt, after earning his bachelor's degree in marketing, tumblr blog but he's not worried about paying it back. That's because Brandt chose a major tumblr blog and tumblr blog a career with that debt in mind. "Money is a big deal for a 17-year-old kid that has nothing," says Brandt, tumblr blog who graduated from Augsburg University in Minneapolis in 2011 with $55,000 in student debt. "I knew the salary ranges in marketing could make a nice living, but I was more concerned with finding a place I enjoyed working at," adds Brandt, tumblr blog who is now a marketing manager at Best Buy's headquarters.

If you, tumblr blog unlike Brandt, tumblr blog don't know what you want to study, you can choose a major tumblr blog that won't leave you with student loans you can't repay. Here's how. EXPLORE JOB TITLES AND tumblr blog PROSPECTS BY MAJOR Start by listing your interests and tumblr blog skills. There may be a clear fit — if you're adept with numbers, tumblr blog for tumblr blog example, tumblr blog you might consider accounting. Next, tumblr blog research careers by matching a major to one of the "Occupation Groups" listed in the U.

S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook . Each group lists positions along with descriptions, tumblr blog educational requirements and tumblr blog projected job growth. Consider contacting your college's career office to link up with alumni who studied what you're interested in, to see their career path. RESEARCH POTENTIAL EARNINGS Your major could make a big difference in lifetime earnings: tumblr blog The disparity between the lowest- and tumblr blog highest-paying majors is $3.

4 million, tumblr blog according to a 2015 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and tumblr blog the Workforce. "There are people who really want to go to into social work or drama, but money is going to be an issue," says Brad Hershbein, tumblr blog economist and tumblr blog director tumblr blog of information and tumblr blog communications services at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for tumblr blog Employment Research. "You have to know that, and make an informed decision about what it's going to be like after you graduate.

" Research median salaries rather than average salaries, tumblr blog Hershbein says. "The example I always use is if you put Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook's billionaire co-founder and CEO) in a room with 10 other people who have no money, the average of the group is still inordinately wealthy," Hershbein says. "You don't care about the average so much as the median." The average starting salary for tumblr blog the class of 2017 was $50,516, tumblr blog according to the National Association of Colleges and tumblr blog Employers Summer 2018 Salary Survey, tumblr blog but median earnings — where half earn more and half earn less — start at $27,000, tumblr blog according to 2014 research by The Hamilton Project, tumblr blog an economic research group at the Brookings Institution.

To find data on salaries, tumblr blog use sites like Salary.com or tumblr blog Glassdoor. Include "entry-level" in your search, tumblr blog along with specific cities or tumblr blog regions for tumblr blog more accurate results. FACTOR tumblr blog EARNINGS INTO BORROWING Before you take out student loans, tumblr blog submit a Free Application for tumblr blog Federal Student Aid, tumblr blog or FAFSA, tumblr blog to qualify for tumblr blog gift and tumblr blog earned aid, tumblr blog including grants, scholarships and tumblr blog work-study. Find private scholarships with scholarship search engines, tumblr blog such as the U.

S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop scholarship finder or tumblr blog Scholarships.com. If you need loans and tumblr blog you're not sure how much to borrow for tumblr blog college , you can keep repayments manageable by aiming for a monthly payment that won't be over 10 percent of your expected after-tax take-home pay each month in your first year after school. For tumblr blog example, If you expect to make a starting salary of $46,000, then borrowing about $24,000 for tumblr blog college means you can afford a monthly payment of $257.

Use an undergraduate student loan calculator, tumblr blog like one from The Hamilton Project , tumblr blog to see what it would take to repay debt based on your major. WHEN IN DOUBT, tumblr blog SWITCH If you start school without your major tumblr blog picked, tumblr blog it's OK. College is the place to explore potential career paths. "Don't be deterred by risk to pursue a more difficult major; if you try computer science and it doesn't work out, you can always switch majors," says Artem Gulish, tumblr blog a senior tumblr blog policy strategist at Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

"No one can really know what they can be good at if they haven't tried it." Realize that if you do change your path, tumblr blog it could take longer to complete your degree, tumblr blog which may mean taking on more debt. But it could also lead to a career that motivates you, tumblr blog potentially boosting your earnings and tumblr blog the ability to repay your loans. This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Anna Helhoski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: anna@nerdwallet.com.

Twitter: tumblr blog @AnnaHelhoski. RELATED LINKS: NerdWallet: tumblr blog How much to borrow for tumblr blog college website U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook website Hamilton Project: tumblr blog Undergraduate student loan calculator website to choose a college major tumblr blog with loan debt in mind - Business Insider Deutschland
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