Students don’t need to be told that our society places a great deal of value on getting a college degree. Getting a job that pays a livable salary is difficult without one. The bachelor’s degree has become to our generation what a high school diploma was a generation or two before us. It’s expected that reasonably educated people seeking higher-income jobs will go to college; if you want to be well educated with the best jobs, you go to graduate school.
The pros and cons of this reality can be debated at length. Regardless, it is difficult to argue that the standards of what being educated means have risen.
It’s understandable then that many students feel pressure to not only do well in college, but to over-achieve. Grad schools and jobs are competitive; if having one degree is key, it would seem to make sense that having two would be even better. And why stop there? Some students triple major, or double major with multiple minors.
The truth is, however, obtaining multiple degrees isn’t going to help students in any definable way after school, particularly in the job market. Most employers merely want to see that an applicant has finished school. In most instances, they don’t particularly care what the degree is in or how good or bad his or her GPA was. It’s a box to check before moving on to the resume bullet points they actually care about – extracurricular experience and internships.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with being educated; having more than one degree isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. But double majoring, let alone triple majoring, takes a significant amount of time. It’s possible to do in four years, but only if many sacrifices are made. Having a job is probably out of the cards; being involved with school activities is difficult, and maintaining an acceptable level of stress and staying healthy can be all but impossible.
One of the advantages of pursuing a liberal arts education is the wide variety of majors and courses offered. Most majors at Whitworth contain a dozen or more courses specifically designed for the major, but the number of credits combined with the number of required general education credits doesn’t usually reach the minimum number of credits required to graduate. While this leaves room for another major or a minor, it also provides ample opportunity for students to expand their knowledge outside of their major by taking classes that genuinely interest them. Whitworth administration and faculty are constantly updating the course catalogs, tweaking already existing courses and creating new ones to suit student needs and interests.
The point we would like to make is not that overachieving academically is a bad idea; rather, we would like to caution students considering more than one major that such a decision does not come without significant sacrifice down the road, and having two degrees won’t help much more than just having one when job-searching. If you are genuinely interested in majoring in two areas because you enjoy the subjects, then there’s value in that. But if you are only double majoring because you think it will look good on your resume, then perhaps you ought to reconsider. There’s a lot of opportunity to take the classes you want; don’t let that opportunity go to waste.
Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is made up of six editors.