Are College Major Stereotypes True?

Are College Major Stereotypes True?
Beth Dumbauld

Is it true that some college major stereotypes are real? If you’re in college, you’ve probably heard some generalizations about the people in your major. Many of these are based on the characteristics that certain groups seem to have the tendency to possess.

However, not everyone is the same. Some generalizations can seem true, but others may be false. Here are some examples of college stereotypes.

Are These College Major Stereotypes For Real?

It is widely believed that English majors are dreamers who always read and have a special knack for grammar, and spelling. Here’s the reality: English majors carry books all the time because it’s required reading for literature courses.

Not all English majors are good at grammar, punctuation, and spelling, but luckily they will take a number of courses to help them get better at it if they struggle in that area.

Math majors are stereotyped as emotionless individuals who are always analytical. These students are thought to have the ability to calculate difficult math problems in their heads, rapidly. This is one of the majors where people are also classified as nerds. These generalizations could be seen as partially true when it comes to the analytical thinking. People who do well in math are usually left-brained people. This means that they analytical, logical and objective.

But keep in mind that people study math for different reasons. Not every math major is a genius or a human calculator.

Business majors are characterized as practical people who are great at sales and are likely to become CEOs one day. The truth is that business majors are a diverse group of people. Although some may be practical, others could have a creative dream to pair with their business degree.

Art and theaters majors are often frowned upon and thought of as dramatic, emotional people who will likely end up working in the foodservice industry, awaiting their “big break.” But people who excel in the arts have abilities that other people are not partial to. Artists are right-brained people. This means that they are intuitive, thoughtful and subjective. They are always thinking up creative ideas and when put into action, they can be successful.

More College Major Stereotypes That May Or May Not Be True

English, math, business and art are not the only majors that are stereotyped. In fact, people make generalizations about pretty much every study group. Here are some other major stereotypes:

  • Engineering majors are nerds who can build anything
  • Language majors can pick up any language and dialect easily
  • Philosophy majors live inside of their own heads, always thinking up their next debate
  • Science majors spend all of their time doing research and writing papers on obscure topics

In reality, most engineering majors take up engineering to learn to build things. However, there are different kinds of engineering; some of them don’t build anything at all. Language majors may have a flair for dialects, but no one can pick up a foreign tongue without studying it either in school in the country the language belongs to.

Philosophy majors may be deep thinkers, but not all of them will become philosophers. This skill can be used in different ways and for different careers. Some science majors are dedicated to studying what may seem as odd topics, like the size of scales on lizard lips. This is true. But some science majors have another reason for the major they chose, like plans to attend medical school.

While some of these stereotypes may seem true, students are individuals, and no individual ever fits neatly into any stereotypical mold. However, it’s a good idea for students to embrace the similarities they have with others in their major to network and build friendships. Just don’t let stereotypes keep you from pursuing the degree that fits you best.

Sometimes taking different classes can help students chose a major. Enroll in one of StraighterLine’s online courses to find yours.

Want to try an online class? Take two free lessons on us today!

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