Ann Brenoff, a parent who went through the college admissions process recently, wrote a piece for “The Huffington Post” a little while back about things that are wrong with the college admissions process. It’s a good piece, one that contains a whole lot of accurate information about the application process. Our regular readers know that we’re very often critical of op-eds on the college admissions process since more often than not they contain some factual inaccuracies. But this one is both well argued and factually accurate.
We’d like to focus on one point that Brenoff details in her op-ed and that is applicants’ focus on their intended majors. In the piece, Brenoff writes, “So much of choosing a college is focused on where your student wants to live. City or rural? Large or small campus? Close to home or as far away as they can get? Lost in the conversation is what they hope to study; what will their major be? The reality is this: It actually may not matter. Between 50 percent and 70 percent of students change their majors at least once. Most colleges are aware of this and do their best to accommodate major-swapping. It’s also why most schools have you take general education classes for the first two years before you actually dive into your selected field of study. Still, it’s good to have options. Attending a school known primarily for its engineering program may no longer be a great fit when your son wants to switch to art history. Remember, it’s not where you go but where you graduate from that matters.”
We couldn’t agree more. We can’t tell you how many students (and particularly parents) narrow down their college lists based on majors. We always think that’s very silly since students change their major seemingly every Tuesday when they get to college. Now does that mean that a student shouldn’t show a passion for a specific discipline in their application? They sure should. But this doesn’t mean their passions can’t change once they get to college. That’s totally fine!