|Do you know what love is, Kristel? It's finishing your degree,|
and then working for 20k a year for a few years.
Photo credit: imdb.com
Undergraduates across the country are choosing to leave science, technology, engineering and math programs before they graduate with those degrees. Many students in those STEM fields struggle to complete their degrees in four years, or drop out, according to a 2010 University of California, Los Angeles, study.
The study, conducted by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, found students in science, math and engineering take longer to complete their degrees than students who start out majoring in other fields. The study tracked thousands of students who entered college for the first time in 2004.The article goes on to describe universities that have devoted some of their resources to changing their teaching style to attempt to stop some of this attrition. Good for them, I suppose.
But I'm amused to read a response in the comments (which, natural to any large website, is a treasure trove of headdesk), which I find typical of some people:
I have been a scientist in academia for almost 40 years and am at a top-ranked university. From personal experience, most U.S. students who arrive on our doorstep wanting to major in STEM are not at the same level academically that they were 20 years ago and are not prepared to make the sacrifices it takes to succeed. Foreign students are willing to work and sacrifice for their education, realizing that in these fields monetary success is often deferred. Our youth in general are not trained to look at the long term but instead want 70K jobs when they graduate with a B.S.I think it's silly to make the assertion that the kidz are not willing to defer gratification -- that's why they're in school, right? Because if it's Money Now they're after, waiting tables or selling
Ultimately, I suspect that it's true -- some people aren't willing to defer financial gratification. For them, STEM majors aren't a good idea (and they don't typically end up there to begin with.) But I suspect that many students are looking long and hard to see if their deferred gratification is actually that -- and finding out that the answer might be no.