Generation Jobless: Students Pick Easier Majors Despite Less Pay
Wall Street Journal (11/09/11) Joe Light; Rachel Emma Silverman
Although the number of college graduates increased about 29 percent from 2001 to 2009, the number graduating with engineering degrees increased just 19 percent and the number with computer and information sciences degrees decreased 14 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Research has shown that graduating with a degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM)-related field can lead to jobs in a wide range of industries. However, many students drop out of STEM majors because introductory courses are often too difficult or too abstract. In addition, many students claim their high schools did not properly prepare them to succeed in introductory STEM courses. In 2001, just 45 percent of U.S. high-school graduates who took the ACT test were prepared for college-level math and just 30 percent of ACT-tested high school graduates were ready for college-level science, according to a 2011 ACT Inc. report. Some institutions have tried to make STEM programs more accessible to students. For example, the Georgia Institute of Technology divided its introductory computer science class into three separate courses, one for computer science majors, one for engineering majors, and another for liberal arts majors.