Posts Tagged ‘College Majors’

In my two and a half years of teaching at a liberal arts school, I’ve talked to a number of students who were switching to a major in the sociology department. There are a few reasons for this, including the fact that a lot of students change majors after they actually experience college classes and the fact that sociology is naturally superior to every other major. My favorite reason, however, is when a student is changing majors because the original major was too hard. Since our department includes criminology, we end up with a number of students who started with a combination of courses that would lead to careers as crime scene investigators (including criminology, psychology, and , most importantly, chemistry) and end with the intention of entering a police academy after finding that the chemistry requirement was too difficult for them.

Recently, a student who wanted to change majors took this to a new extreme. The student is a senior who has been unable to pass the required methods course in another social science department after two attempts with different professors. Following the second failure, the student’s advisor recommended a switch to sociology where, apparently, the methods courses are much easier. The funny thing about this is that sociology is not particularly easy and our methods and theory courses are at least as difficult as those in the other social sciences (though I suppose students may have an advantage in our courses because sociology is more interesting than the other social sciences). As a result, our department ends up being the final stop for some students who have failed their way from major to major. Maybe someday students will realize that sociology is hard and we’ll be the aspirational major they start with before failing and transitioning to a subject they perceive to be easier, like chemistry!

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