Wondering what to major in when you get to college? Major in getting a job. If you read my blog regularly, you know I don’t place a whole lot of value on today’s college education, but regardless, some of you are going anyway – so what should you major in?
Today’s WSJ article, “Jane Shaw: Higher Learning, Meet Lower Job ProspectsOutrage greets a governor who dared to suggest that college degrees should lead to employment” is classic. In case you can’t access this, I’ve posted a few soundbites here along with some commentary. The bottom line is, going to college is expensive – the colleges want your money, but they aren’t accepting the responsibility for getting you into a job – sign up for basket weaving or some other major that doesn’t prepare you, and they won’t discourage you. There are jobs out there – the problem is, few are qualified to fill them.
A recent blog post I came across listed several useless majors including:
Majors You Don’t Want to Pay For
- Fine arts – unemployment 12.6%, earning potential (EP) 45K (with extensive experience which you need a job to get…)
- Drama and theater arts – unemployment 7.8%, EP 45K
- Film, Video, and Photographic Arts – unemployment 12.6%, EP 50K
- Commercial art and graphic design – unemployment 11.8%, EP 49K
- Architecture – unemployment 13.9%, EP 64K
- Philosophy and religious studies – unemployment 10.8, EP 48K
- English literature – unemployment 9.2%, EP 52K
Why would someone spend the kind of money colleges are charging – or go into debt, to get one of these degrees, knowing they’ll end up unemployed? It doesn’t make sense to spend big money on something you love if it only leads to a hobby. At some point young people will be responsible for running a family, raising children, and paying taxes…as I watch young people going off to school, I am grieved to see them spending their parent’s life savings on an unplanned future.
This WSJ (linked above) reports on an interview between North Carolina’s new governor, Pat McCrory, and show host – former U.S. Education Secretary William J. Bennett. In the interview, McCrory points out that colleges and universities should be focusing students on degrees that will position them for employment – and perhaps for jobs that actually pay reasonable money. You can imagine the reaction from teachers who teach, what I call, filler classes. Not that arts and music, etc. are not part of a well rounded education, but for the money you pay to attend college, it seems like you should focus on stuff that will put you into a career with potential. Perhaps parents and students should pick their hobbies and extra curricular activities with “well-rounded” in mind. Opinion writer, Jane Shaw seems to have the right perspective here…Thanks for supporting McCrory on this one!
Anyway, here are some of the sound bites:
- “The problem, [McCrory] suggested, might be that many academic disciplines have no real practical applications.” – This is true…
- Jane Shaw comments – “McCrory wondered if state funding incentives should encourage areas of study that align with the job market…The funding formula, he said perhaps a bit indelicately, should not be based on the number of “butts in seats, but how many of those butts can get jobs.” – This sounds right to me.
- This was funny…”UNC-Chapel Hill geography professor Altha Cravey said the governor “was not elected to decide what has intellectual value and what does not.” – Can you picture Cravey squirming here, wondering about her own future employment?
- Sociology professor Andrew Perrin said that the governor’s comments reflected “a fundamental misunderstanding” of higher education. – Sociology? Another class I had to take that I will never benefit from.
It’s sad that college has come to this. 900 Billion dollars in college debt, mostly government funded, and most of it not being paid for by the graduate – in the end our tax dollars are going to fund this ruse.
© 2013, David Stelzl