Photo: Paul Schultz via Flickr
Apparently, money isn’t everything.Students are ditching head-scratching majors in science and engineering in favour of more manageable fields, even though anyone who’s read a jobs study recently knows that lab geeks earn more.
No one has figured out exactly why students are flocking from higher-paying career paths, but the attrition phenomenon has baffled professors and researchers for ages.
And our high school system may be to blame, the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Light and Rachel Evan Silverman reported.
“Students who drop out of science majors and professors who study the phenomenon say that introductory courses are often difficult and abstract. Some students … say their high schools didn’t prepare them for the level of rigour in the introductory courses.
Overall, only 45 per cent of 2011 U.S. high-school graduates who took the ACT test were prepared for college-level maths and only 30 per cent of ACT-tested high-school graduates were ready for college-level science, according to a report by ACT Inc.”
Lots of students with pipe dreams of being surgeons and mechanical engineers can’t keep up with the coursework and decide to switch gears before they flunk out.
The very majors that are proving too tough for kids to handle in college are the ones that will lead to the highest paying jobs and give them the best shot at paying for their education down the road.
Of the top 10 highest earning majors, eight have the word “engineering” in their job description. Petroleum engineers and pharmaceutical administrators topped the list, earning more than $105,000 per year, according to a study by the Georgetown University centre on Education and the Workforce.
As a journalism grad, I’m not in any position to pooh-pooh anyone’s career choice as it relates to their salary. But dropping a major simply because the hours of studying are starting to eat into your social calender certainly isn’t the wisest career path.