Follow Your Heart or Follow the Money?

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Do you follow your heart or your money when choosing majors?

International students are coming to the US in record numbers…and questioning their futures more than ever before. As it turns out, students from countries including China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia are not just attracted to the financial opportunities available in American business. They’re coming here for academic freedom and the ability to explore other fields that may be less than lucrative right out of school. Additionally, they are faced with a more lenient grading ethic — in the US, your success does not hinge on a single exam or report but rather a variety of factors.

According to a recent NPR report, international students are finding that lack of pressure hugely appealing. Shreyas Manohar — a student at Columbia University, originally from Nagpur, India — is considering a major in creative writing, despite the stability offered by an alternate path in economics. Part of that freedom stems from being untethered to India’s make-or-break exam system that qualifies students to enter the next level of education and determines their placement in certain fields. “You have so much pressure to succeed,” he explains, “and because of that, naturally, many people don’t do as well as they normally should have.”

Without that pressure, Manohar can obtain a degree in a field he loves from an Ivy League school (the massive price tag of said education notwithstanding.)

Read the rest of Manohar’s story — along with powerful data from our friends at Open Doorsat the NPR website.

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