The returns to college vary dramatically across fields of study. Well-documented disparities in college major choice may therefore contribute to later gaps in earnings. How do students decide what to study? Evidence suggests that students value both expected earnings and non-pecuniary factors such as expected career satisfaction and fulfillment. However, little is known about how earlier educational investments shape college major choices.
The findings from this project stand to inform the active debate on the merits of Advanced Placement (AP) courses and the content of high school curricula. While over 9 out of 10 public school students are estimated to have at least one AP exam at their school, and over 40% of public high school graduates take at least one AP exam, significant gaps in AP access and participation remain.