- More than half of Americans (51%) would change at least one of their education decisions if they had to do it all over again
- Those with some college but no degree are the most likely to say they would change a decision
- Individuals who complete a vocational, trade or technical program are more positive about their education decisions than are individuals with an associate or bachelor’s degree
- Individuals who attended a for-profit institution at the sub-baccalaureate level or who attended a private, nonprofit institution at the two-year level are more likely to regret their decisions thatn those who earned credentials from other institutions.
- Bachelor’s degree holders who completed their education later in life reflect more positively on their education choices than do those who completed at a younger age.
- STEM graduates at all education levels are the least likely to report they would make different education decisions.
About half of all U.S. adults would change at least one of the decisions they made along their education path, whether that be choosing a different major of field of study, a different institution, or another degree type.
Those with some college but no degree are the most likely to say they would change at least one of these three education decision, which may not be surprising given that many may feel that they have little to show for their time and financial investment.
The desire to make different education decision varies by the type of institution individual attended. Individuals who received their degree from the most selective public and private four-year schools are the least likely to indicate they would change their education decisions. Meanwhile, adults who attended for-profit, certificate-granting institutions, private nonprofit two-year schools and for-profit two-year schools are most likely to say they would change at least one of their education decisions.
As might be expected, the relationship between a desire to change education decisions and student loan amount is concentrated among those who would change which institution they attended – since the cost of attendance varies substantially across different higher education institutions.
Regardless of their age at the time of graduation, few bachelor’s degree holders would pursue a different degree. However, those aged 30 or older at the time of their graduation are less likely than those under age 30 at the time of their graduation to say they would pursue a different field of study
Most notably, those who studied STEM fields to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree are the least likely to report they would choose another major, while those who studied liberal arts are the most likely to say they would change their field of study.
Though more than half of U.S. adults say they would make at least one different education decision, about four in five adults who completed a credential or a degree either agree or strongly agree that they received a high-quality education.