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Fifty Years of Freshman Career Plans in Four Charts

A survey launched in the Johnson administration asks incoming college students about their professional intentions. Behold.
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Photographer: Nick David/Getty Images

What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s what a survey that began half a century ago has asked incoming U.S. college freshmen, questioning them year after year about their probable occupations.

It’s one thing to ask a little kid, whose ambitions are untrammeled by such petty concerns as rent. The survey, by the Higher Education Research Institute,  captures the intended careers of young men and women, in limbo between the fantasies of youth and the realities of adulthood.