Colleges and Students

Some education experts say that the choice of a college major is the most important decision a student makes, while others argue that the decision is not that critical. Paul Harrington, Neeta Fogg, and Thomas Harrington, authors of the College Majors Handbook, emphasize the importance of choosing a major. The world today, they argue, is a less forgiving place than it was twenty-five or thirty years ago. Therefore, those with clear career direction at the beginning of their college studies have more of an advantage. These authors claim that going to college with the intention of exploring one’s interests and talents is a bad idea. Instead, students should get focused as soon as possible, especially if they hope to prepare for high-paying career fields like engineering and medicine.

An author with a completely different point of view, however, is Donald Asher, author of How to Get a Job with Any Major. Asher argues against rushing college students into choosing a major. He acknowledges that not every major will prepare a student for any career, but he also notes that most people wind up in jobs unrelated to their college studies anyway. Therefore, many college graduates are able to pursue positions in different fields, not just the ones directly related to their majors. Asher also points out that the average person switches careers, sometimes dramatically, three to five different times. Thus, Asher says, “The most important thing for students to find out in college is what really turns them on.” (Sources of information: Mary Beth Marklein, “The ‘Major’ Dilemma,” USA Today, August 5, 2004, p. 6D; Mary Beth Marklein, “Another View: Any Field Will Do,” USA Today, August 5, 2004, p. 6D)

1.  What does the author argue or claim in the first paragraph?

2. What does the author argue or claim in the second paragraph?

3. .  Which of the following statements is most true regarding the author’s bias?

a. The author shows a bias in favor of those who believe college students need to choose a major right away.

b. The author is biased against those who believe that students should not rush into choosing a major.

c. The author reveals no personal bias.

4.   What evidence from the text supports your response?

5. What perspective is this article written in? (Use the articles on this blog to help you answer this question).

a. first person limited

b. first person omnipotent?

c. Third person limited?

d. Third person omnipotent?



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