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The Increase in Double Majors
By The College Advisor

To ensure staying employed in a world that has become ever more complex, more students are taking double or even triple majors. There has been an 85% rise in the number of bachelor's degrees with double majors over the last decade. Some colleges report as many as 10% of students with double majors. Some colleges will allow only majors and minors, and they, too, show an increase of students declaring minors. No one is yet sure if this investment in broadening one's education will pay off in the long run.

The uncertainty of employment has taken a toll on college students in the last few years. While no study has been taken which shows what types of personalities are taking double majors, one element is certain - the students doing so tend to be high achievers. The double major acts as a strong signal to future employers that this is a student who seeks achievement and could be a good asset for the firm.

High achievers come in all personality styles. Here are stories from a few who are taking double majors:

Says Annie, a Guardian Supervisor, "My majors are Business and History. Having historical knowledge strengthens my perspective - if it has happened before, it can happen again. I'm better prepared to deal with risk when I combine the two perspectives."

Eddie sees himself as an entrepreneurial Artisan Promoter. "I'm majoring in Business and Computer Information Technology. This field is still expanding and there are many opportunities. I didn't just want to be a techie. I wanted to lead a tech organization and I needed to have the language and understand what the techies are doing."

Flora, an Idealist Counselor, is combining Molecular Biology and English. She says, "Biology is a growing field. I know some other students were better at Molecular Biology than I, but with my English background, I'll be able to communicate the advances better to non-technical people who fund new discoveries. I can always fall back on being a grant writer."

Colin is a Rational Inventor who has long been fascinated with cinema. "I'm combining Cinema with History because I hope to get into the production end of film making. If you're not accurate about a time period and if your props and settings are out of sync, the film critic always catches you. I want to be able to go back and forth through time and make things seem realistic."

USC in Los Angeles offers a Renaissance Prize for high grades in two or more widely separated fields shown in a double-major or a major-minor combination. George Washington University in Washington, D.C. reports about 16% of students with double majors. Perhaps our students and universities are leading us to a new Renaissance. Perhaps by having deep backgrounds in diverse subjects, one can find new areas for creativity. With their ambition and wide-ranging curiosity, perhaps these students are our new Leonardo da Vincis.


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