When it comes to career success, it pays to aim for more education than what you need for the job you want.

That is the key finding of a new study that I and several colleagues did by analyzing the salaries of students who expected to get more education than needed for their desired job. We compared their salaries to the salaries of students who planned to get only as much or less education than needed for their desired job.

Prior research had already shown that high school students who have a profession in mind and know what sort of education they need for that profession—what is sometimes referred to as “aligned ambitions” – secured more stable careers and higher wages early in

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