View Full Version : College for Actuary
10-06-2001, 02:49 PM
I am a high school senior who is very interested in actuary. I am trying to decide which college to attend. I live in Indiana, and I heard that Ball State is probably the best college for that degree in Indiana. I was wanting to know if anyone knew of a better suited college in Indiana or even nation wide? Thanks for your help.
10-08-2001, 06:17 AM
I disagree with doing a math major. Many of my courses have cover portions of the material for courses 3 and 4 and have made studying for them much easier. I have no idea about the relative quality/reputations of the schools mentioned so I won't go into that issue. A misnomer about actuarial science is that the material is mostly math. If you're planning on going to a school that doesn't have an actuarial science program I strongly suggest that you do a statistics major. After you get past second year calculus and perhaps a year of algebra any math you learn will not be very applicable to an actuarial career.
Enough Exams Already
10-08-2001, 06:56 AM
That's not true--numerical analysis has come in very handy for me.
Popular combinations to study are a math or stats degree with some business courses, or a business or finance degree with a math minor. Make sure you get enough of a math background for Course 1 and enough of an economics and finance background for Course 2--after that, study whatever you want. You could study anthropology so long as you have to necessary coursework to take Course 1 and maybe Course 2 by the time you graduate. The exam process makes it possible for anyone who can pass the exams to advance in the field--don't get hung up on getting the "right" background.
The advice about the internship is sound, though. If you are going to tailor your education to this field, make sure it is the field you really want. And the best way to do that is to work in the field for a bit during college.
10-08-2001, 07:19 AM
On 2001-10-08 06:17, mememe wrote:
After you get past second year calculus and perhaps a year of algebra any math you learn will not be very applicable to an actuarial career.
It doesn't matter what your major or intended career is. Much of what you learn won't be applicable. Not that it matters. If you wanted job training, you'd go to Ivy Tech, right?
Go major in Math. Minor in business if you want. If you are thinking actuarial exams, then you can take the appropriate courses for some of the early exams. Go to Purdue or BSU, they both have Actuarial programs.
But do get the Math major instead of Actuarial Science. Undergrads should not major in something so specific. Besides, 4 years from now, you may decide that being an actuary is not or you. If that happens, you don't want to have to explain Actuarial Science in every single job interview.
10-08-2001, 07:54 AM
I agree with OG. It is far easier to explain to an Actuarial employer why you chose Mathematics over Actuarial Science than it is to explain to a non-Actuarial employer why you majored in Actuarial Science.
10-08-2001, 08:35 PM
Ideally I think a actuarial science major with a business or economics minor would be the best. Programs from school to school vary but my actuarial science program had a fairly heavy stats requirement. For business, I think a heavier weighting in stats is better than math. Have you ever seen the sylabus for the CFA? There's a fair amount of stats in the first exam.
I'm not saying things such as ordinary differential equations (good for finance) or numerical analysis aren't useful but they can probably be picked up as electives. I just find that most math courses in the upper levels aren't that applicable to a career in actuarial science or a career in general. There are jobs for people out there with pure math degrees but they usually require grad school. How many people with math degrees decided to go into the actuarial field because their knowledge wasn't applicable in many fields?
I feel that stats and actuarial science are much more of an applied science with realworld applications. Part of the reason I decided on an actuarial major were the skills I would learn were applicable to other fields. Given the reputation of actuaries, I don't think a potential non-actuarial employer would look down on the degree.
Ultimately, if you study hard and get good a math degree won't be a hindrance in looking for a job. However, if you're looking for an advantage an actuarial or stats program would be a good idea. I liked the fact that I could directly see how my courses related to the type of work I would be doing as an actuarialst. Regardless of which program you choose taking business courses as either an elective or as a minor is a smart move.
Dr T Non-Fan
10-08-2001, 08:59 PM
1. Go to the most difficult (according to whomever) and most recognizable university you get accepted to. This will come in handy later, when the interviewer doesn't have to ask where Ball State is. If you're looking only in a small radius, try U.Chicago, Northwestern, U.Mich, U.Wis., Miami U. (Ohio), or ND. For an actuarial career, it doesn't make much of a difference, but for many other possibilities, a known name, with respectable entrance requirements or a good football team, will put you near the top of the pile.
2. Major in whatever suits you, but take classes that are helpful to your future career. in this case, math, heavy stats, business quantitative analysis, econ, etc., will all be helpful.
3. Earn high grades, so the internships are knocking your door down, instead of the other way around.
4. Enjoy your college years, though safely and sanely.
10-08-2001, 10:41 PM
On 2001-10-08 20:35, mememe wrote:
Given the reputation of actuaries, I don't think a potential non-actuarial employer would look down on the degree.
I'm not saying that a potential non-Actuarial employer would look down on someone with an Actuarial degree. I am saying that you are going to have to explain what an Actuary is. This isn't what you want to do when trying to get an interview (and then again at the interview).
10-09-2001, 10:19 AM
If you are sure you want to be an actuary (or are kind of sure with the alternatives being along the lines of math or finance), go to a school with the program. Ball State,Illinois, Michigan. The schools with an actuarial program will give you a chance to pass the first 2-4 exams without having to study a tremendous amount in addition to your school studies. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. It will give you a HUGE leg-up over people who major in math.
Also, depending on the school, your regular actuarial studies will get you extremely close to the requirements for a finance major or minor. This will at least give you something in addition to the actuarial degree if you choose another field. And it would even give you a good opportunity to switch majors if you choose.
I really think that finding an actuarial program where you can pass your 3rd or 4th exam in May of your year of graduation would be very beneficial to you.
It is true that your major would be specialized somewhat (that is why I would encourage a school where you can get the finance major/minor) and that you CAN pass the exams while getting another degree, but it has to be tougher.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mikey on 2001-10-09 10:22 ]</font>
Lots of good advice so far, especially about taking business courses and going to a school that will let you get multiple exams under your belt before graduating. I would add U of Waterloo (Ontario) to that list (an 8-hour drive from Indianapolis). I don't think there is a college in the U.S. that could touch their program. Of course, you're on your own as far as learning how to say "eh" and "about" and finding a dog-sled team for transportation. :grin:
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: 42 on 2001-10-09 11:59 ]</font>
Dr T Non-Fan
10-09-2001, 12:18 PM
I agree with mikey. I might have to take back what I wrote. Long time ago, it didn't make a difference. The first two exams were generic enough that nearly any college couold provide the learning material. This has changed dramatically, as there is not likely to be a class on all of Course 2 --Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Interest Theory, and Finance -- simultaneously. An actuarial science program is likely to have courses (blocks of courses?) designed to help students pass exams.
You can also access information online about colleges. SOA has a list (Butler is there, too).
Then find the college's info online.
10-09-2001, 02:22 PM
Go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It has a very good Business school, actuarial science program ,Math and Stat. Tuition is cheap compared to other Big Ten schools. Good football team(okay Indiana killed us last Saturday, but...), good Hockey team.....plus, Madison is a very nice city. Nice landscape...lotsa lakes around. Great view from the Memorial Union Terrace of the lake. Oh, and you can buy beer at the Union, rent sailboats, canoes....nice people!
(It's a party school but let's not tell your parents that!) :smile:
10-09-2001, 02:27 PM
PS. Oh, and don't worry about the Wisconsin winters. Just a myth. It does not get really cold here. Really, it doesn't. Will I lie to a kid?
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