Multiple majors not always needed

(U-WIRE) PITTSBURGH — The college experience is comprised of more than papers and study. Students who spend their days and nights with their noses wedged deeply into book bindings miss out on opportunities that are unique to this time and place in life. But it seems the many fun and interesting college experiences are taking a back seat while students weigh their schedules down with extra majors.

This growing trend is putting a lot of extra pressure on students; maybe more than is needed. A wider field of study does not necessarily facilitate a better education.

According to the New York Times, recent years have seen a drastic increase in the number of students taking on multiple majors in efforts to make themselves more attractive to companies and graduate programs. At Georgetown University, 23 percent of 2002 graduates decided to tackle two or mor majors, a number that has jumped from 14 percent in 1996.

Stiff competition in academia is healthy. It provides an atmosphere that forces dedicated students to strive and excel. But having multiple majors is not always the best way for a student to prove his or her dedication. A major is meant to be a specific concentration, and it is difficult to adequately concentrate on three different areas at once – students who attempt to often end up spreading themselves thin.

The notion that students must take on several majors to be more attractive to employers serves to expose a weakness in academia. It creates the illusion that such students are always more learned and capable, when this is not necessarily the case. Students should not be pressured to take on the extra work and stress of additional majors if one concentration will do the trick.

Those who choose to focus on one area of study can still spice up their resumes by taking advantage of internships. Real-world work experience is more valuable to future employers than a second major. A student who wishes to pursue a career in business would be better off spending time in the work environment than adding a whole list of extra classes. Time that would otherwise be spent in extra study could be devoted to sports, clubs or campus organizations.

Additional studying for personal enrichment is great, but the constant studying that comes with multiple majors is not for everyone, and it is wrong to force it on them. Employers should acknowledge that students are not necessarily defined by the number of majors they attempt. Single majors are often intelligent, hard-working and capable as well.