A majority of Americans say they would change their choice of college, degree or field of study, if they could do it over again.

    Gallup, an American research-based company, and the Strada Education Network reported in June that 51 percent of Americans regret one of their college education choices.

    The study also found that 36 percent of Americans said they would change their major if they could. Twenty-eight percent of Americans said they would choose a different college or university. And 12 percent said they would choose a different degree program.

    Precious A. Smith is the Deputy Director for the Center for Academic Excellence at Howard University. Smith does not want people to think that 51 percent of American college graduates are unhappy with what they are currently doing.
    普雷舍丝·史密斯(Precious A. Smith)是霍华德大学学术卓越中心的副主任。史密斯不希望人们以为51%的美国大学毕业生对他们目前的工作感到不满意。

    She says the students "might have just made different choices if they had different information at the time they were picking a major or picking an institution to graduate from."

    Students often end up choosing between a career that will make them happy and a career that will make a lot of money, she says. Many students therefore end up picking a major that they are not very satisfied with.

    Beth Davis is a graduate of the University of Maryland. She says, "I went to college because everybody else was going to college."
    贝丝·戴维斯(Beth Davis)毕业于马里兰大学。她说:“我去上大学,是因为别人都上大学。”

    Davis says her degree in history and English has nothing to do with her current job. She never took a business class in college but she now runs a successful construction business. She believes that on the job training may be a better option for many people.

    "The things that I am interested in, I always would have learned about anyway. I didn't need a college degree to do that," she says.

    STEM and technical students have fewer regrets

    The poll found that there were two groups of students that were more satisfied with their educational decisions. One included students who completed trade, technical or work-related study programs. And the other included students who specialized in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, an area known in American education as STEM.

    The poll also found that individuals with higher student loan debt are more likely to say they would change at least one educational decision.

    Smith of Howard University says that some former students "probably didn't realize how much that loan debt was going to affect their current lifestyle."

    She advises students to be flexible with their career goals. She says students need to understand that "your career goal at the end of high school and your career goal at the end of college are going to look a little bit different."

    Ashley Riley is a developmental specialist at Early Intervention, a service that works with children who have developmental delays.
    阿什莉·莱莉(Ashley Riley)是Early Intervention的一位发展师,这是一项帮助发育迟缓儿童的服务项目。

    Riley wishes that she had more information about other majors and career options when she attended college.

    Riley said it was her current job at Early Intervention that, in her words, "opened my eyes up to all of these other majors that I have never really been exposed to in my college career."
    莱莉表示,这就是她目前在Early Intervention的工作,用她的话来说就是,“让我了解到我在大学生涯中从未真正接触到的所有其它专业。”

    If she could go back to college again, Riley said she would have majored in occupational therapy or speech therapy instead of education and psychology.

    The poll also showed that a person's desire to change their educational decisions is related to the kind of college or university they attended.

    About half of students at public or state universities, which receive government money, would change at least one of their educational decisions. The number is higher for private and for-profit schools.

    The research was part of a three-year study to help colleges and students complete education with a purpose.

    The researchers collected information from June 29, 2016 through March 26, 2017. They spoke by telephone with over 89,000 people throughout the United States, including the District of Columbia.

    I'm Mario Ritter.

    And I'm Olivia Liu.