O's Notes

Got Jobs? © Sameer Gupta, 2018. All rights reserved.

While STEM majors garner a lot of attention in the job market (that’s another post!), many of the most popular majors by graduation numbers are non STEM majors such as history, social sciences, economics, etc. What are the job prospects of graduates in these majors? What kind of jobs are specifically advertised for liberal arts majors? Sometimes it can be hard to get a sense of the employment opportunities of the majors until one is actively seeking a job.

Where are Students Applying Today?

Until a few years ago, most students either applied to their closest in-state public universities or private colleges for their college education. That paradigm has changed today with students applying to a wider combination of university types.

Stem, Thorns and Shoots. © 2018, Sameer Gupta.

In 2018, it feels like almost every STEM major is popular and on an upward tick in popularity. Is that a fair assessment? It is quite instructive to take look at these disciplines through time. So, let’s hop on our time machine and go through number of graduates in biology, physical sciences, computer science, engineering and psychology.

Most Popular Majors and Why They Matter

Most students have a sense of the majors that are most popular amongst their peers in their high school. Many times this discussion has input from parents who draw on their career path or that of their colleagues. Neither of these viewpoints quite capture the majors which graduate the most number of students.

Lego model by DG. © 2017 Sameer Gupta.

Engineering has become a very sought after college major driven partly by numerous articles in media about how STEM majors are on the rise and graduates find a job and also partly due to STEM graduates being able to land that first job, perhaps a tad faster, regardless of name brand of the college. Engineering has also received a huge push because of the emphasis on STEM education, coding camps, hackathons, STEM competitions, and some of these start from elementary school!

©2017 Sameer Gupta.

Today, many students apply early in their senior year. As early as October or November of the first semester in their senior year. This is because many colleges offer the applicants the option of applying early with an early response on their applications. Usually a student who has applied early will come to know of their admission chances within a few weeks of the deadline. E.g., a student who applies early by Nov 1 will come to know of the admission decision by mid December.