7.10.09

HOBBY MAJORS. Rate Your Students picked up a column from Ball State that makes an explicitly instrumental case for higher education.
Making more money is and should be your motivation for attending college. Conventional wisdom says, "If you go to college, you'll make more money." Conventional wisdom is not always right. Going to college might be the worst decision of your life.
Developing a good jive detector is and should be your motivation for attending college. The columnist apparently has not yet done so. It's certainly the case that attending college might be a bad decision for some people, and university administrations complicit in access-assessment-remediation retention enable those bad decisions. That's something else the columnist missed.
The problem with college is that there are too many of what I call "Hobby Majors"; majors that are fun and interesting as a hobby, but only marginal in occupational productivity. Art, music, theater, etc., are all nice and would make superb minors, but majors? They are called starving artists for a reason.
I'm not sure if that's a statement about Ball's fine arts school (what, exactly, did David Letterman major in?) Our theater and music programs pass any sensible market test, should anyone in Springfield be crass enough to ask. The column provoked a lot of comments, more than a few of which demonstrate more by way of anger than by way of argumentation.

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