What do you think of double majoring?

There was an opinion piece in the New York Times in October 2018 that expresses one view of double majoring.

Opinion Today

David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times

24 October 2018

(an excerpt)

When I visit a college campus and ask the students what they’re studying, the response often starts with: “I’m double-majoring in … ” And then my heart sinks just a little bit.

I understand why many students are temped to double-major. They have more than one academic interest. When I was in college, I briefly thought about double-majoring in my two favorite subjects, math and history. (Instead, I spent much of my time at the college newspaper and barely completed one major — applied math.)

But the reality is that many students who double-major aren’t doing it out of intellectual curiosity. The number of double majors has soared in recent years mostly because students see it as a way to add one more credential to their résumé. What’s even better than one major? Two majors!

Except that it’s not. Most students would learn more by creatively mastering a single major — and leaving themselves time to take classes in multiple other fields. “Double majoring,” as Jacqueline Sanchez, a Wellesley College student, wrote in a recent op-ed for her campus paper, “ultimately prevents students from exploring many different disciplines.”

Unfortunately, double majoring is just one part of a credentials arms race among teenagers and college students. This arms race exacerbates inequality, because it can make upper-middle-class students seem more accomplished than working-class and poor students. And the arms race is also unpleasant and counterproductive for many of the well-off students. They’re loading up on extracurricular activities, Advanced Placement courses and college majors, rather than exploring, going deep into one or two areas and learning what they really enjoy.  (see link for more)


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