Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Why college kids major in humanities

The NY Times reports:
Why Science Majors Change Their Minds (It’s Just So Darn Hard)

Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students, who typically have the strongest SAT scores and high school science preparation, are included, according to new data from the University of California at Los Angeles. That is twice the combined attrition rate of all other majors. ...

The latest research also suggests that there could be more subtle problems at work, like the proliferation of grade inflation in the humanities and social sciences, which provides another incentive for students to leave STEM majors. It is no surprise that grades are lower in math and science, where the answers are clear-cut and there are no bonus points for flair. ...

Ben Ost, a doctoral student at Cornell, found in a similar study that STEM students are both “pulled away” by high grades in their courses in other fields and “pushed out” by lower grades in their majors.

MATTHEW MONIZ bailed out of engineering at Notre Dame in the fall of his sophomore year. ...
So Mr. Moniz, a 21-year-old who likes poetry and had enjoyed introductory psychology, switched to a double major in psychology and English, where the classes are “a lot more discussion based.”
Here, STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.

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