In most things in life popularity rules. To the most popular gal and guy in high school fell the lion's share of attention. The more popular political candidate wins more votes than her opponent, and thus ascends to the office she seeks. The most popular athletes win the biggest contracts and endorsement deals, and thus find themselves rich beyond their wildest imaginings.
You'd imagine, then, that popularity matters in the world of postsecondary education. And indeed it does -- perhaps more so now than it ever did. Galloping tuition hikes coupled with federal- and state-grant funding draw-downs have forced more people than ever to borrow money in order to finance their college education. This condition naturally leads to a change in outlook. Today's students consider college a financial investment, and as with any investment they're looking to maximize the returns on it.
A professional career can bring just the sort of returns students look for. But how are they to know which careers will prove most lucrative, and, more importantly, most secure? Well, the popularity of college degree programs offers one useful indication of the most desirable careers, because these programs confer the sorts of credentials employers in those career fields require of applicants.
So without further ado, here are today's top 5 college degree programs (listed alphabetically, not according to relative popularity):
People who prefer to follow broad trends could do worse than abide the wisdom of the crowds piling into these degree programs. As long as supply (jobs) and demand (job applicants) remain more or less in equilibrium, those holding degrees in the above areas can expect to enjoy long, fulfilling careers -- and, yes, a satisfactory return on their tuition investment as well.