Students under ‘major’ pressure

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By Joseph Miller, Staff Reporter

Are students pressured to choose employable or profitable majors? It is a question that hovers over college campuses and shapes students’ lives.

Simply put, yes. Yes, they are. Students are put under pressure by concerning their choice of major from a variety of sources such as parents, society and social groups.

Parents often provide the most distinguishable pressure. Some students enter college with an unspoken pressure to follow in their parent’s footsteps. This unspoken pressure can lead students to choose a major or career path that mimics their parents.

Sometimes this pressure is vocalized. Parents may stress choosing a particular degree path that is employable or profitable, especially if they are footing the bill. Many people are familiar with the scenario of the student that really wants to be a theater major in their heart, but their parents are paying for their school. The parents of this student will not pay for a theater degree so the student is pressured and forced to choose the “smart” major. This type of pressure is one that international students feel. Students from different cultural backgrounds may be pressured to become specifically doctors or lawyers for example.

Some students will enter college without a major in mind. These students may feel pressure from society to obtain a degree that is generally considered the smart choice or that is employable. Society has within it jobs that we know are profitable. Students who are not sure may be pressured into choosing a major in engineering because there are jobs in the market and many engineering jobs pay very well.

Many new students change their intended major at least once within their first year. This is sometimes a case of peer pressure and students change to a major that their friends are pursuing.

There is pressure from all kinds of sources that impact a student’s decision concerning what major to choose. This is an important career and life choice, and I think it is only natural that a variety of pressures influence this choice.