Phi Beta Cons

Watch Out for the Do-It-Yourself Major

Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal may have started a new trend — “do-it-yourself majors.” She argues (in two separate articles) that the old-fashioned majors available to students do not always prepare them for a decent job. If students can design their own majors (such as “performing arts management” and “globalization studies”), their college years may yield rich returns.

Oh, come on. This fad is just another ploy by the millennial generation (our high-self-esteem darlings) to do what it wants to do.  I admit that some students are misfits, many of them geniuses and prodigies, and  “design-your-own majors” may be right for those few. For the most part, however, the last thing we need is more catering to the wishes of this group of young people. Their education is flimsy enough already; at least their majors should be grounded in a serious academic discipline. With a solid education and a functioning economy, the jobs will be there.

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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