Science Majors Change Their Minds Because They Run Out of Time

MR comments are pouring out.

Here’s the NYT.

And there are encouraging signs, with surveys showing the number of college freshmen interested in majoring in a STEM field on the rise.

But, it turns out, middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion. The excitement quickly fades as students brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg, an emeritus engineering professor, calls “the math-science death march.” Freshmen in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. And then many wash out.

I hope Robin Hanson chimes in on this. I bet he’d say that Universities award status, not education, so having high drop-out rates is what they’re selling.

If they were selling education, there would be many many more options for learning this material. And options for learning it later in life. Or over a longer period in life. My hypothesis is that the kids in University have too many other things they’d rather do then cram, which is distinctly unpleasant. So they don’t, and when they’re made to feel stupid, they crash out.

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