You Can Tell a Lot About a Person by Their Major

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(Daily Utah Chronicle file photo)

(Daily Utah Chronicle file photo)
(Daily Utah Chronicle file photo)

A person’s college major can tell you a lot.

Terese Pratt, assistant director of the University College, has been meeting with students for 20 years to help them decide which field of study to choose. While she said it’s hard to completely define a person by their major, there are several patterns.

Liberal arts students look for the big picture and are abstract-thinkers. Those who like hands-on experiences will go into engineering or parks and recreation tourism, while those who want to help others will go for education, social work or medicine.

“All kinds of personalities can do all kinds of things, and interests can be met in different areas, but there are certain ways of looking at the world and interpreting data,” she said.

The U has about 90 different majors to offer. Most U students choose a major that has a direct career path or professional fields linked with it, such as business, education, engineering or exercise and sports science.

Katie Evans, a senior in biology, has seen some stereotypes within her major, especially with pre-med students.

“They care about their grades but not learning,” she said. “They are really competitive and want to be the best. They are involved in everything instead of just one thing.”

However, she’s noticed a laid-back attitude and a greater focus on real-life experiences than classroom learning among her business school friends.

Even within majors there are differences between the emphases. Victoria Boldt, a junior in modern dance, can distinguish between ballet and modern dance students by how they dress.

“[Modern dancers] are wearing sweats. They have socks with sandals, nothing matches and their hair is on top of their head,” she said. “With ballet girls, their hair is done and they are in everyday clothes.”

It extends beyond looks, though. Forrest Andres-Beck, a senior in ballet, said those in his major are much more uptight and analytical, constantly striving for perfection. Boldt, on the other hand, said modern dancers are more emotional, free, accepting of others and open-minded.

“Certain types of people are drawn to certain majors, but you can’t judge someone entirely off of that,” she said.

Joe Nielsen, a junior in electrical engineering, said engineers have their own stereotypes, too.

“The stereotype is poor social skills, poor communication skills and [being] right all the time, even when they’re wrong,” he said.

Those may be true depending on the different departments of engineering. He said computer engineers are the nerdy ones who always have to comment in class, electrical engineers are the bad boys of the group and bioengineers are “the most attractive and the most normal.”

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