Getting ahead in the majors

One of the first decisions that must be made when attending a college is the major. Majors determine what classes students will be taking, how much schooling they need and, most likely, what job they will have in the future. A student’s major being such an important decision, some majors are more flocked to than others.

As the world becomes more focused on technology, majors such as computer science are growing in popularity.

“The trend shows that there are more job opportunities,” said Ben Smart, a computer science major at Weber State University.

Even more popular than computer science is the nursing major.

“People, especially in Utah, like to take care of people,” said nursing major Coriann Sampson. “It’s a good career to get into.”

Sampson decided on this major because her boyfriend suggested it. Nursing is the most popular major, with 1,896 students enrolled, giving it a 464 lead over the second-most popular major, business administration.

“You know what you have to do to get in,” said Christa Staheli, also a nursing major. “They tell you what classes you have to take.”

Staheli said her favorite class in high school was her CNA class, which is why she decided to become a nurse.

“I want to help people,” said Katie Rainey. “I spent a lot of time in the hospital with my dad; there are a lot of bad nurses out there, and I want to make a difference.”

Rainey is currently starting her prerequisites to become a nurse after getting her first bachelor’s degree. She said she thinks that the reason so many people choose nursing over other majors is because it’s a shorter program with a decent pay rate.

“It’s probably more for those reasons than wanting to help people,” Rainey said.

Elementary education has only recently become a popular major. In 2009, only 191 people enrolled, but by 2010, that number jumped up to 545.

“It is very workable with a family,” said student Elisabeth Xidis. “The schedule fits right in. You get summer off, paid well for the most part, and it is always in demand.”

Xidis said she always wanted to be a teacher since she was little, and she heard that WSU had one of the best programs.

Psychology is the sixth-most popular major, with 486 people enrolled in 2010.

“Psychology is extremely important,” said psychology major Lacie Benson. “Times get tougher and tougher, and people are learning that they need to take care of themselves not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too.”

Once Benson gets her master’s degree, she said she hopes to work as a school counselor or at a counseling center for youth.

“I decided to go into psychology because I want to help people, which sounds like your typical answer, but I really do,” Benson said. “Life can be really hard, and sometimes you just need someone to talk to.”

Popular majors tend to be the ones that have the most job opportunities and a good salary. Unpopular majors are just the opposite.

“It’s no secret to any art major that you have to apply to get into the BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts),” said visual communication major Kyle Ferrin. “There are only a few people, because they don’t want anyone to walk directly from graduation to the soup kitchen.”

The visual communication major has only 41 people in it, which is the typical amount of students for most majors in the visual arts.

“A graphic design degree doesn’t get you a job unless you have a portfolio to prove your expertise,” Ferrin said.

There are people who know exactly what they want to do before they even start school, while others can’t make up their minds.

“I have changed majors three different times now,” Benson said. “It wasn’t easy.”