2013 June 06 Thursday
Even Harvard Students Fleeing Humanities Over Job Prospects

Harvard University students increasingly do not see a humanities degree as a viable starting point for a career. Even a Harvard degree has limited value without skills to go along with the high IQ that acceptance at Harvard usually means.

At Harvard, humanities majors have fallen to 20% in 2012 from 36% in 1954. In the last decade, the decline in humanities students at Harvard has been particularly pronounced, with one-third fewer prospective freshmen expressing interest in the field.

It is great news that more students are heeding the message that we have a very competitive job market. People who major in more useful subjects will do more productive work. Already the people with less than college degrees are facing worsening job prospects. The IQ thresholds and skills thresholds for good career prospects are going to keep going up.

Another needed development: turn down tax funding of universities whose students can't manage to graduate. The average SAT for the U with only 4% graduation rate: 715. Imagine what IQ tests would show about the students of schools with low graduation rates.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 June 06 09:52 PM 

GN said at June 7, 2013 3:10 PM:

So what, the way things are going it's all over anyway

destructure said at June 8, 2013 6:04 PM:

Speaking of low graduation rates, there was an HBC in my old city a few years ago that got its tail in a crack for enrolling students to get government funding, pell grants, etc. Not only were students not graduating they weren't even going to class. They were just signing them up to get the money.

I'm wondering if the increase in college costs would slow down if they backed off some of this financial aid. Most people want to go to college because they see it as a lottery ticket. But a lot of college graduates are unemployed and a lot more are working in something not related to their major. Plus, they're stuck with the loans. Just because the students graduate doesn't mean the colleges weren't running a similar scam to the HBC mentioned above.

Randall Parker said at June 9, 2013 11:43 AM:

Financial aid should be handed out based on risk assessment. What is the graduation rate per instistution, for the major, employment rate for the major, starting salary for the major, etc.

The market is going to force education reform. More kids will take online courses (already happening). The breadth and depth of courses offered and their quality will all rise.

What I most want: We'll see testing sites that allow people to drill. Memory researcher Henry Roediger has shown that being made to recall something strengthens the memory much better than reading the same thing over and over. So watch some lectures, read some material. then the next day and again a week later go get yourself tested on it. There are optimal periods of time for retesting.

What we need: break up education into separately delivered services:

  • lecture delivery

  • discussions and tutorials

  • testing for memory building

  • testing for credentials

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