As fall semester ensues, many students find themselves struggling to declare a major. Rumors of packed programs and recession-proof occupations have students new and old dizzied by the magnitude of their decisions.
According to the information resources department of Weber State University, the top five majors by enrollment are nursing, business administration, radiologic sciences, elementary education and computer science.
Some of these may not come as a surprise, seeing as WSU is known for its health sciences. Nursing leads the pack 2-to-1 over business administration. Nursing is a strong program at WSU, leading the state in board passage rates and boasting strong community outreach and involvement. The stability, service and open job market leaves little question as to its popularity.
While the nursing program seems a predictable favorite, other programs at the top of the heap might be surprising to some. Bonnie McIlrath, a junior within the elementary education program, is happily occupied with the many demands and surprisingly fierce competition that comes with seeking a degree to teach America’s youth.
“Why do I think so many choose this major? I believe a lot of it has to do with the fact that most are women and are looking for a job option that will allow them to also be a mother,” McIlrath said. “. . . I am given the chance to be in classrooms and put what I am learning into action. I can see what really does work and what does not work in teaching my kids to be ready for whatever they want to do later. I can also see some flexibility fitting this career in with my family. Heaven knows it’s not for the income!”
All of these majors, with one exception, offer a fairly obvious service to the community and to the individuals they help, leading to the conclusion that most of the emphasis within WSU students’ degree-seeking lies in service-based careers. Not far behind in the running were psychology and criminal justice, further adding to the philanthropy that seems to surround WSU’s most popular programs.
Within the top five programs alone, there are 4,762 students, accounting for 19 percent of the total enrollment for the school. This means that, of the 250 programs at WSU, five hold nearly a fifth of the population.
Garret Olson, a senior in the computer science department, also commented on his program’s spike in interest.
“We live in the computer age. Computer science is the most hirable major, with projections around four times as many job openings as graduates.”
Among his favorite things about being a computer science major, Olson said he loves “telling people I’m a computer science major. I earn some quick respect and smart points. . . . This major is for anyone who isn’t into taking big risks, and wants to be financially stable and successful. Computer science is a great choice if you can keep up with the program. There are so many applications for a computer science education, and pretty much guaranteed jobs and job security.”
With all of these programs bursting at the seams, WSU is ready for a new semester. For students who aren’t interested in WSU’s top five majors, there are also four new undergraduate programs to choose from coming this fall semester. General technology, entrepreneurship, design engineering technology and network management technology will bring the tally to 254 programs to choose from, leaving students even more choices to wrestle with.