Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary recently wrote a column titled “Not All College Majors Are Created Equal.” You can click the link and read the whole thing, but if you’re in a hurry, the first few lines say it all:
I have this game I play when I meet college students.
“What’s your major?” I ask.
The student might say, “English,” “psychology,” “political science” or “engineering.”
And then, in my mind, after factoring in some other information, I say to myself “job” or “no job,” depending on the major.
An English major with no internships or any plan of what she might do with the major to earn a living? No job.
A political science major with no internships that could lead to a specific job opportunity? No job, I think.
Engineering major with three relevant internships in the engineering field? Ding. Ding. We have a winner. Job.
The rest is the same dreary stuff, telling young people to approach getting a college education as if they were going to vocational school.
Being an English major myself, I couldn’t resist posting a comment:
Your advice is unnecessarily mercenary. I graduated from a state college with a degree in English and no prospects. After teaching adult ed and deciding it wasn’t for me I joined the USAF as an officer and became a fighter pilot. My liberal arts education gave me a huge leg up in my military career. Most military officers would rather storm a trench naked, or go into a dogfight with no missiles and an inoperative gun, than write a position paper for a commanding officer or get up on stage to deliver a briefing. I know many military leaders with liberal arts degrees, from infantry unit commanders to submarine skippers. I’m willing to bet you hear from many liberal arts majors who thrive in business as well. I hope things aren’t as bleak as you seem to think they are.
I know times are hard, but I hope they’re not so hard that we have to turn our childrens’ college educations into technical training. I guess I’m writing this for my granddaughter, who is off to college this fall. I want her to get an education, not a certification!