The least and most valuable college majors revealed
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Computer Science is popular major at DePaul — there are over 400 undergraduate students alone in the program.
“The numbers have been going up and if the trend continues next fall we will have the highest numbers ever. This is following the national trend. There has been renewed interest across the country,” Kalin said.
Despite the poor ranking as a major, DePaul’s application pool for incoming journalism students continues to grow, according to Evensen.
“DePaul has never had more applications for the journalism program, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and the quality of our applicants have never been better, and the number of students we admit has never been higher. Some of the other top programs in the country would say the same,” Evensen said.
Evensen said he believes journalism has a future, but it is up to the journalists to capture it.
“It has and will provide lots of opportunities for employment for graduates. Those graduates will need to be intentional. They’ll need to entrepreneurial. They’ll have to have a plan,” Evensen said.
Megan Fox, a Media Associate at Celeb TV who graduated from DePaul University with a Master of Arts in journalism, said she pursued journalism because it was something she always wanted to do. Despite what research says, Fox said she believes journalism is a “useful” major.
“Writing is one of the most important tools a person needs,” Fox said. “Having great ideas is one thing but being able to express them either verbally or on paper is a great skill to possess.”
Fox was offered a job immediately after interning for one month with Celeb TV.
“If you are skilled at what you do and passionate about a career path, you will find the right position and be successful,” Fox said.
Fox and Clay are not the only ones finding success and employment after receiving degrees in the most “useless” majors. Dave Wagenaar, who graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Cinema in 2011, currently works as a freelance key grip. Although his major is listed as one of the most “useless” college majors, Wagenaar has been busy working all over the country.
“I have only been in Chicago for two months this year,” says Wagenaar. “It’s all about who you know. It is a large community of people interested in the field but is a small community of people actually doing the job.”
Wagenaar credits DePaul for giving him the access to the tools he needed to learn his job. The networking at DePaul helped him make his first contact, which led to his first paid job.
“I don’t look for the jobs, the jobs find me,” Wagenaar said.
When asked if he would do anything differently or change his major after finding out it was among the list of the most “useless” college majors, Wagenaar said, “I would do it all over again.”
“It is all about persistence and networking,” said Wagenaar, who spent his time at DePaul learning the tools of his trade as well as establishing contacts. “You need to look for jobs years before you graduate so you can graduate into a job.”
Jenn Schiffer, a web developer based in Montclair, N. J. and the department administrator of Montclair State University’s computer science department, read The Daily Beast’s report and said although she could understand why students considered some majors to be more important, she did not agree with the claim that some college majors are more valuable than others.
“I do not think there is such a thing as a useless major. I can see why some folks see science as more “useful,” but the arts are necessary; they enrich our lives in ways that disciplines like math and technology do not,” Schiffer said. “If anything, it’s the behavior of the student that can be considered counterproductive to the major/program a college offers.”
Schiffer said she believes it is more about the student than the degree that makes the difference between succeeding or not.
“We’re no longer in a time, if there ever was one, that just showing up to class and doing the homework is sustainable. There’s an extra oomph that you need to put into your degree,” Schiffer said. “Your classes are an outline, your faculty are a network of mentors, and you need to use those tools to set your own path. Students I know that have done that have met great success from a variety of these ‘useless’ majors.”