What Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education Tell Us about Changing College Majors
Did you change college majors when you were a student? Or if you are a student now, are you thinking about changing . . . or are you worried about changing?
In some cases, there are causes for concern. Changing majors can make it necessary to stay in college for an additional semester or two while you make up courses that are required for your new major. It can mean taking courses over the summer, or carrying a heavier course load while you are in school. All those activities cost money and can add to the stress of completing a college degree.
But even so, healthy percentages of people do change majors, and it is interesting to note that some majors are “stickier” than others and inspire more loyalty.
“. . . between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world . . . New jobs will be available, based on our scenarios of future labor demand and the net impact of automation.”
- “What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages,” McKinsey Global Institute study, November 2017
It’s no secret that automated systems are about to take over jobs that are currently being performed by millions of human employees. But if you think the biggest problem is that humans will be replaced by robots, you could be wrong. Artificial intelligence-based systems will replace humans in careers as different as power grid management, customer service, traffic control, medical diagnoses and monitoring, inventory management, travel, market analysis, stock portfolio management, manufacturing controls, and many more.
Whether you are a student, an educator, or a parent, how can you identify careers that will offer the greatest security in the years to come?
Student data privacy. There are few issues that have so captivated the attention of the education community. Whether it be state-administered student proficiency tests, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provisions, or student identifiers such as social security numbers, the topic of what student data is available and how it is safeguarded is now front and center in most education discussions.
It is impractical to suggest, as some have for years, that student data just should not be collected. In the current digital, information age, electronic student data is central to effective teaching and learning. From student registration data to formative/interim/summative assessments, good data is now an essential piece to effective teaching and learning.
Our most effective educators use student data to personalize instruction, ensuring that the lessons in the classroom best match with student needs and learning styles. Schools use student data to effectively manage everything from attendance to student discipline to teacher effectiveness. And school districts and states utilize the data to demonstrate the success of our schools, our teachers, and our kids. Good data is at the heart of all of these activities.
Research from the Department of Labor, academic researchers, and consulting companies tells us a great deal about the jobs of the future – and about what students should be studying in college today.
But we have recently been looking at another valuable indicator of the skills that are in demand to fill jobs . . .
The microdegree courses that are being offered by different providers
As you know, microdegrees (which can also be called nanodegrees, badges, certificates, and by other names) are surging in popularity, and for a very good reason. They allow students to earn a marketable credential in far less time than it would take them to go back to college, full or part-time, to earn a full-blown degree. And because microdegree programs teach skills that are in demand in the workplace, they serve as a good indicator of the skills that are needed to fill jobs today.
It’s hard to avoid news stories these days detailing the teacher shortage gripping public schools across the United States. Last year, the Learning Policy Institute wrote of the teacher pipeline crisis. LPI even developed an interesting map that addressed the issue, state by state.
Some organizations have sought to address the issue by focusing on the quality and rigor of teacher preparation programs. Others, like Educators Rising, have taken on the issue by trying to expand the teacher pipeline, including by recruiting high school students for future careers in the classroom.
Regardless of which way one approaches the issue, it is clear that much work must be done to inform today’s students on tomorrow’s careers as educators. Recent data from our research partners show that just 3.6 percent of today’s high school students aspire to become teachers.