Students are choosing narrow vocational majors such as “turfgrass science,” reports U.S. News.
In fall of 2005, just before his sophomore year at Pennsylvania State University, (Daniel Hughes) switched his major from education to turfgrass science, a four-year bachelor’s degree offered through the school’s College of Agricultural Science. In that program, Hughes and some 200 other undergrads at Penn State study plant diseases and pest and weed control, along with other courses tailored specifically to managing turf, which is mostly used in golf courses and other sport stadiums.
. . . As of 2004, about 80 percent of all U.S. four-year institutions now offer degrees in practical studies â€” fields rooted in preparing students for a specific vocation. Studies show that some 60 percent of all undergraduates are enrolled in career-oriented majors, up from 45 percent in the 1960s.
Students may fear their liberal arts degree will prepare them to work as a receptionist, but there’s such a thing as being too specific. Those who spend their college years learning to grow grass may not be prepared to adapt to new challenges — artificial turf? — as time goes on?
They say all our jobs were going to change a half-dozen times in a working lifetime. My old job as a newspaper journalist is vanishing, but I have the skills I learned as an English and Creative Writing major to sustain me. Also, I married an electrical engineer, something I recommend to all English majors.