How much do "hard" majors help?

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tesoro
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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby tesoro » Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:56 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
This is on a tangential line, but just to stir the pot: To argue that a degree in anything including political science, history, philosophy, anthropology and the like was as hard as this is completely ignorant. The world of employment realizes this (average STARTING salary for a fresh graduate in EE: $55,000. average salary of an average american: ~$40,000). If anyone could do it, EVERYONE would do it because the job security of the degree is unmatched. Anyone who's taken a simple economics class knows that if a profession is profitable, it quickly becomes oversaturated, becomes less profitable, and finds an equilibrium. Unfortunatley, most people don't have what it takes to flood the engineering market. I started college on an "engineering floor" in the dorms. By the time I moved on to sophomore year, of the 15 people I spoke to on the floor, only myself and one other student hadn't dropped out.


I don't actually think this is tangential at all. It's proof that it is difficult to the point that would-be liberal arts majors don't try to switch to engineering and compete despite an enormous financial incentive and no real barrier to entry (not compared to professional school).

Most people just can't do it. And with the exception of the obvious brain mutants who get A's in math/physics/engineering with little or no effort, that's because it's difficult.


Well, this isn't to say that what you're saying has no merit, but I think your economics are off because you're ignoring other costs. Namely that you actually have to deal with really boring material in order to get a really boring job in the end (and a job with sketchy growth prospects at that). So your measure of "profitable" for the engineering degree is kinda squishy. Sure a lot of people simply can't do engineering (or whatever), but to argue that you're extra special for doing so is kinda clown shoes.

Now granting that something like engineering IS harder and generally more work, I personally would rather study law, business, economics, public policy, or whatever. It's more fun. And leads to a (subjectively) more awesome career. Others might go for psych, accounting, teaching....hell, even sociology. Maybe some stink at math and it's keeping them out of engineering, sure, but maybe some actually want to be social workers, teachers, accountants, counselors. Most people simply don't share an engineer's enthusiasm for bridge-building (or whatever).

So, basically, arguing over the relative difficulty of majors isn't really the point. I swear...it's like a big academic pissing contest in this thread...


I never argued that I'm extra special. I argued that 1) engineering is harder than your major, and 2) engineers deserve any supposed "boost" they get in law admissions. I clearly labeled the rest to be tangential, and agree it isn't the point. My main point hasn't yet been addressed though. I have no idea why a poli sci major who has a 3.55 and is top 30% of his class thinks he is entitled to better odds at admission at law school than an engineer who has a 3.23 and is top 30% of his class at each of their respective universities. Furthermore, it absolutely boggles my mind why a polic sci major who has a 3.23 GPA thinks he is entitled to the same prospects as an engineer with a 3.23 GPA, because given the relative curves, the engineer outranked more of his peers with the same GPA.

Also, engineering isn't boring, and I don't build bridges. It's a rigorous intellectual exercise, and is quite the engaging challenge. When I was interviewing, I was solicited by top10 consulting firms, top5 investment firms, etc. Engineers can still be teachers, or anything they want. They chose the practical degree, either for genuine subject interest or, in my case, for the freedom of choice. I have personally worked as a teacher and at a top investment banking firm in my past. So your post is built upon your own personal opinion that engineering is boring, which you're entitled to, but there are many factors that may contribute to you thinking it's boring, such as for example an inability to perform in high-level mathematics courses.

The subjectively more awesome careers you speak of are subject to immense debate. Accounting is awesome? Accounting is reduntant and offers little to no mental challenge, except maybe manipulating balance sheets to show misleading profits to investors. It would be very difficult to find an accountant who loves his job. I know accountants, and none of them fit this bill.

As to the rest of them, sure, some people love teaching and that's a professional avenue that I have immense respect for. I may retire to teaching one day myself. There's little value, though, in most other degrees. I have plenty of friends who took degrees in psychology, history, anthropology, philosophy, etc. with the intent of "working as a psychologist" or "working for the government" and they are now living in their parents basements and working as servers. Some of them stayed in school to get masters degrees, too. These people are also living in their parents basements and working as bartenders. The ones that got jobs are making $30k-$40k at jobs they don't like, such as human resources positions as just one example, in cities with high COL. Yes, some of them make it, but road is a lot harder and subjectively seems extremely shitty relative to working hard for 4 years at an engineering degree, to me at least.

edit: there is value in business degrees. Sorry, I glossed over this. I just want to make it clear that I have immense respect for anyone who pursued any type professional degree, including accountants, teachers, engineers, successful pre-med students, and yes, you, the life-long aspiring lawyer who studied something you found fun during UG knowing you were moving on to something practical.

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prezidentv8
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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:19 pm

tesoro wrote:I never argued that I'm extra special. I argued that 1) engineering is harder than your major,

I think I granted this. I'm sure it is. But like I started my post with, your economics were faulty.

tesoro wrote:and 2) engineers deserve any supposed "boost" they get in law admissions.

I didn't say they didn't, and early in the thread I told the OP it should end up putting him over the top at a few schools.


tesoro wrote:I clearly labeled the rest to be tangential, and agree it isn't the point. My main point hasn't yet been addressed though. I have no idea why a poli sci major who has a 3.55 and is top 30% of his class thinks he is entitled to better odds at admission at law school than an engineer who has a 3.23 and is top 30% of his class at each of their respective universities. Furthermore, it absolutely boggles my mind why a polic sci major who has a 3.23 GPA thinks he is entitled to the same prospects as an engineer with a 3.23 GPA, because given the relative curves, the engineer outranked more of his peers with the same GPA.

The polisci guy isn't entitled. But that's how the system works. It's a bummer for you, sorry. As for the situation with the equivalent GPAs, don't you think the engineering guy would probably get the nod?

tesoro wrote:Also, engineering isn't boring, and I don't build bridges. It's a rigorous intellectual exercise, and is quite the engaging challenge.

I'm sure it was for you. It's still boring to me. Opportunity cost man.

tesoro wrote:When I was interviewing, I was solicited by top10 consulting firms, top5 investment firms, etc.

Cool beans. When I finished college, I had a bloody mary and thought about how cool it was going to be going to law school in the fall. Then, I got my high school job at a golf course back for the summer and played free golf. It was tight.

tesoro wrote:Engineers can still be teachers, or anything they want. They chose the practical degree, either for genuine subject interest or, in my case, for the freedom of choice. I have personally worked as a teacher and at a top investment banking firm in my past. So your post is built upon your own personal opinion that engineering is boring, which you're entitled to, but there are many factors that may contribute to you thinking it's boring, such as for example an inability to perform in high-level mathematics courses.

First...get over it. Math isn't that hard when thousands of people get a math degree every year. Secondly, my point regarding the subjective boring-ness of engineering was that your point about economics was simply wrong because you're ignoring the actual costs of the degree. It wasn't that engineering is objectively boring.

tesoro wrote:The subjectively more awesome careers you speak of are subject to immense debate. Accounting is awesome? Accounting is reduntant and offers little to no mental challenge, except maybe manipulating balance sheets to show misleading profits to investors. It would be very difficult to find an accountant who loves his job. I know accountants, and none of them fit this bill.

I know a guy that's pretty much gay for accounting. Again, this point spoke to the subjective factor involved, and the fact that you were ignoring the actual costs of an engineering degree for most people.

tesoro wrote:As to the rest of them, sure, some people love teaching and that's a professional avenue that I have immense respect for. I may retire to teaching one day myself. There's little value, though, in most other degrees.

I'd disagree, but you also seem to be implying that employment prospects is your measure. I can't disagree if that's the case. I would say that enjoying my four years in college was more important to me than my starting salary.

Side note - as for teaching, I would only do it if I also got to coach a high school team as well. Putting up with bratty kids, parents, and admins = ughhhhhhhhhhh.

tesoro wrote:I have plenty of friends who took degrees in psychology, history, anthropology, philosophy, etc. with the intent of "working as a psychologist" or "working for the government" and they are now living in their parents basements and working as servers. Some of them stayed in school to get masters degrees, too. These people are also living in their parents basements and working as bartenders. The ones that got jobs are making $30k-$40k at jobs they don't like, such as human resources positions as just one example, in cities with high COL. Yes, some of them make it, but road is a lot harder and subjectively seems extremely shitty relative to working hard for 4 years at an engineering degree, to me at least.

So...? They should've probably done something to create some other employment prospects then, if they actually cared. But you know, those are the kinds of jobs that most people with degrees start out with - especially ITE. I see nothing wrong with this. Either they assessed their opportunities properly, and their degrees were still worth it for them to pursue, or they did not, and that screw up led them to...normal jobs. Most people are generally fine with this.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:33 pm

Well, this isn't to say that what you're saying has no merit, but I think your economics are off because you're ignoring other costs. Namely that you actually have to deal with really boring material in order to get a really boring job in the end (and a job with sketchy growth prospects at that). So your measure of "profitable" for the engineering degree is kinda squishy. Sure a lot of people simply can't do engineering (or whatever), but to argue that you're extra special for doing so is kinda clown shoes.


Newsflash: Most jobs are boring desk work. The one's that aren't tend to be either extremely stressful, low pay, or extremely dirty/dangerous. Or several of the above. For that matter, if you have a problem with boring desk work, you might want to rethink your profession.

I see no argument that for someone who understands math well (any engineering grad will) how being an engineer doing engineer desk work is supposedly "worse" than the liberal arts grad doing white collar desk work.

Most people grow out of the "I'm gonna be astronaut" phase by now. Just saying.

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prezidentv8
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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:44 pm

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
Well, this isn't to say that what you're saying has no merit, but I think your economics are off because you're ignoring other costs. Namely that you actually have to deal with really boring material in order to get a really boring job in the end (and a job with sketchy growth prospects at that). So your measure of "profitable" for the engineering degree is kinda squishy. Sure a lot of people simply can't do engineering (or whatever), but to argue that you're extra special for doing so is kinda clown shoes.


Newsflash: Most jobs are boring desk work. The one's that aren't tend to be either extremely stressful, low pay, or extremely dirty/dangerous. Or several of the above. For that matter, if you have a problem with boring desk work, you might want to rethink your profession.

I see no argument that for someone who understands math well (any engineering grad will) how being an engineer doing engineer desk work is supposedly "worse" than the liberal arts grad doing white collar desk work.

Most people grow out of the "I'm gonna be astronaut" phase by now. Just saying.


Well that's quite the mischaracterization. First off, if you've resigned yourself to shitty work, good luck in life. My main point - again - engineering-dude is ignoring costs. I don't understand why this is that crazy of a point.

Edit: I should add, not all desk work is created equal. I'd imagine that's why many of us are on this web site.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby tesoro » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:02 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
Well, this isn't to say that what you're saying has no merit, but I think your economics are off because you're ignoring other costs. Namely that you actually have to deal with really boring material in order to get a really boring job in the end (and a job with sketchy growth prospects at that). So your measure of "profitable" for the engineering degree is kinda squishy. Sure a lot of people simply can't do engineering (or whatever), but to argue that you're extra special for doing so is kinda clown shoes.


Newsflash: Most jobs are boring desk work. The one's that aren't tend to be either extremely stressful, low pay, or extremely dirty/dangerous. Or several of the above. For that matter, if you have a problem with boring desk work, you might want to rethink your profession.

I see no argument that for someone who understands math well (any engineering grad will) how being an engineer doing engineer desk work is supposedly "worse" than the liberal arts grad doing white collar desk work.

Most people grow out of the "I'm gonna be astronaut" phase by now. Just saying.


Well that's quite the mischaracterization. First off, if you've resigned yourself to shitty work, good luck in life. My main point - again - engineering-dude is ignoring costs. I don't understand why this is that crazy of a point.

Edit: I should add, not all desk work is created equal. I'd imagine that's why many of us are on this web site.


What cost am I ignoring exactly? I had some trouble following that point. Education costs the same amount, whether you buy an engineering degree or a poli sci degree, except if poli sci guy graduates in 3 or 3.5 years. A shitty job in HR probably sucks more than my easy desk job where I make my own hours and make a boatload of money, so the cost isn't monetary or that of boring versus awesome.

If we're talking about time for things outside of school, I had that. I actually had a rather bitchin' four years, complete with a 6 month study abroad experience and only taking one class my last semester of school. I maximized my time at office hours, and outside of finals weeks never did any homework or studying past 8pm.

Seriously though, no offense, what cost am I ignoring?

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prezidentv8
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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:07 pm

tesoro wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:
ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
Well, this isn't to say that what you're saying has no merit, but I think your economics are off because you're ignoring other costs. Namely that you actually have to deal with really boring material in order to get a really boring job in the end (and a job with sketchy growth prospects at that). So your measure of "profitable" for the engineering degree is kinda squishy. Sure a lot of people simply can't do engineering (or whatever), but to argue that you're extra special for doing so is kinda clown shoes.


Newsflash: Most jobs are boring desk work. The one's that aren't tend to be either extremely stressful, low pay, or extremely dirty/dangerous. Or several of the above. For that matter, if you have a problem with boring desk work, you might want to rethink your profession.

I see no argument that for someone who understands math well (any engineering grad will) how being an engineer doing engineer desk work is supposedly "worse" than the liberal arts grad doing white collar desk work.

Most people grow out of the "I'm gonna be astronaut" phase by now. Just saying.


Well that's quite the mischaracterization. First off, if you've resigned yourself to shitty work, good luck in life. My main point - again - engineering-dude is ignoring costs. I don't understand why this is that crazy of a point.

Edit: I should add, not all desk work is created equal. I'd imagine that's why many of us are on this web site.


What cost am I ignoring exactly? I had some trouble following that point. Education costs the same amount, whether you buy an engineering degree or a poli sci degree, except if poli sci guy graduates in 3 or 3.5 years. A shitty job in HR probably sucks more than my easy desk job where I make my own hours and make a boatload of money, so the cost isn't monetary or that of boring versus awesome.

If we're talking about time for things outside of school, I had that. I actually had a rather bitchin' four years, complete with a 6 month study abroad experience and only taking one class my last semester of school. I maximized my time at office hours, and outside of finals weeks never did any homework or studying past 8pm.

Seriously though, no offense, what cost am I ignoring?


Many people would rather sit through (and do the work for) a class titled "Third World Political Systems" or "Advanced Finance" or "Abnormal Psychology" than, say, "Fluid Dynamics" or "Linear Systems Theory." Not a monetary cost, but a cost nonetheless. Again, perhaps partially due to abilities, but also due to preferences. Edit: Hence, why I talked about boringness.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby tesoro » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:15 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
Many people would rather sit through (and do the work for) a class titled "Third World Political Systems" or "Advanced Finance" or "Abnormal Psychology" than, say, "Fluid Dynamics" or "Linear Systems Theory." Not a monetary cost, but a cost nonetheless. Again, perhaps partially due to abilities, but also due to preferences.


I get that. To each his own. Anyone who would rather sit through "advanced finance" probably has a good head on his shoulders and is learning something practical. This skill is marketable.

Anyone who is stacking their classes to all be similar to a class entitled "third world political systems," however, had better have a practical goal in mind, or they're destined for their parents basements. Maybe not if it's just taken as an elective if it's something you're super interested in, but otherwise it just doesn't make sense.

None of the above was an affont to you, you're pursuing law and likely have been planning to for a long time. That being said, anyone majoring in political systems is probably going to suffer for their unwillingness to come to grips with the reality that after college, life is work. And if your market value is minimal, then you're in deep shit.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby tinman » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:19 pm

My main point hasn't yet been addressed though. I have no idea why a poli sci major who has a 3.55 and is top 30% of his class thinks he is entitled to better odds at admission at law school than an engineer who has a 3.23 and is top 30% of his class at each of their respective universities. Furthermore, it absolutely boggles my mind why a polic sci major who has a 3.23 GPA thinks he is entitled to the same prospects as an engineer with a 3.23 GPA, because given the relative curves, the engineer outranked more of his peers with the same GPA.


I have always found this extremely frustrating as well (less so for me than for general principles of equity). Fortunately for me, in the "hard sciences" such as physics, biology, and chemistry they usually give As to the top students. In engineering, I think even the top students can sometimes end up with A-s or B+s.

Here is another issue: do you think a student in the top 15% at Harvard should have the same opportunities as a student in the top 15% at Hofstra? I think not. Grade inflation as the top schools have some effect at eliminating this issue, but not so much. I can think of almost no job where a 3.7 at Harvard would not be accepted over a 3.9 from a tier 2 undergrad, but that seems to be the way that laws schools work.

But I think you main point is well taken: grade inflation is generally lacking in engineering, and I agree this really hurts engineering majors applying to law school (and med school). The girl I was dating last spring in Boston had gone to MIT for undergrad at had a 3.7 or so in electrical engineering. She was denied admission to every medical school she applied (she just reapplied this year, and I think she will get in someplace good now that she has a couple years of work experience). Also, I have a friend in Boston who took the October LSAT with me last fall. He majored in computer engineering at Cornell. He is amazingly smart and charismatic person (exactly the same age as me), who I think would make an absolutely excellent lawyer, perhaps even a better lawyer that me (and certainly a better lawyer in many respects). But he scored in the high 160s on the LSAT. His GPA, while respectable for engineering at Cornell, was too low to be good for law schools, so that he was denied admission to every law school to which he applied!! My GPA from a similarly ranking UG was much higher than his (but I think it would have been about the same had I majored in engineering). Now, I am at Yale, and he is applying to law schools again. It's really not even remotely fair.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:19 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
Well, this isn't to say that what you're saying has no merit, but I think your economics are off because you're ignoring other costs. Namely that you actually have to deal with really boring material in order to get a really boring job in the end (and a job with sketchy growth prospects at that). So your measure of "profitable" for the engineering degree is kinda squishy. Sure a lot of people simply can't do engineering (or whatever), but to argue that you're extra special for doing so is kinda clown shoes.


Newsflash: Most jobs are boring desk work. The one's that aren't tend to be either extremely stressful, low pay, or extremely dirty/dangerous. Or several of the above. For that matter, if you have a problem with boring desk work, you might want to rethink your profession.

I see no argument that for someone who understands math well (any engineering grad will) how being an engineer doing engineer desk work is supposedly "worse" than the liberal arts grad doing white collar desk work.

Most people grow out of the "I'm gonna be astronaut" phase by now. Just saying.


Well that's quite the mischaracterization. First off, if you've resigned yourself to shitty work, good luck in life. My main point - again - engineering-dude is ignoring costs. I don't understand why this is that crazy of a point.

Edit: I should add, not all desk work is created equal. I'd imagine that's why many of us are on this web site.


What is this mythical high paying, always interesting job that presumably has no other downside or barrier to entry that explains why it is highly paid? And no, lawyer doesn't count unless you think that most of discovery or due diligence or reading a record is anything other than eye-bleeding. In which case I would wonder how much research youv'e done about your intended profession.

You've advanced that engineering has additional costs related to shittiness of work. Provide a counter-example profession.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:23 pm

tesoro wrote:That being said, anyone majoring in political systems is probably going to suffer for their unwillingness to come to grips with the reality that after college, life is work. And if your market value is minimal, then you're in deep shit.


Well, that's probably true, because they're giving up an opportunity to major in something like engineering for an opportunity to major in politics. But that also should reflect the relative costs and benefits of each, including the subjective intrinsic and practical value of each major, as well as the person's own abilities and career hopes. But with that being said, most people are happy with a regular job that just requires a degree in whatever. So they end up majoring in stuff that they like. Which, you know...could be engineering (you?) or not (me).

Discarding that topic for the moment, you guys probably should get a boost.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby fable2 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:28 pm

tesoro wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:
ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
This is on a tangential line, but just to stir the pot: To argue that a degree in anything including political science, history, philosophy, anthropology and the like was as hard as this is completely ignorant. The world of employment realizes this (average STARTING salary for a fresh graduate in EE: $55,000. average salary of an average american: ~$40,000). If anyone could do it, EVERYONE would do it because the job security of the degree is unmatched. Anyone who's taken a simple economics class knows that if a profession is profitable, it quickly becomes oversaturated, becomes less profitable, and finds an equilibrium. Unfortunatley, most people don't have what it takes to flood the engineering market. I started college on an "engineering floor" in the dorms. By the time I moved on to sophomore year, of the 15 people I spoke to on the floor, only myself and one other student hadn't dropped out.


I don't actually think this is tangential at all. It's proof that it is difficult to the point that would-be liberal arts majors don't try to switch to engineering and compete despite an enormous financial incentive and no real barrier to entry (not compared to professional school).

Most people just can't do it. And with the exception of the obvious brain mutants who get A's in math/physics/engineering with little or no effort, that's because it's difficult.


Well, this isn't to say that what you're saying has no merit, but I think your economics are off because you're ignoring other costs. Namely that you actually have to deal with really boring material in order to get a really boring job in the end (and a job with sketchy growth prospects at that). So your measure of "profitable" for the engineering degree is kinda squishy. Sure a lot of people simply can't do engineering (or whatever), but to argue that you're extra special for doing so is kinda clown shoes.

Now granting that something like engineering IS harder and generally more work, I personally would rather study law, business, economics, public policy, or whatever. It's more fun. And leads to a (subjectively) more awesome career. Others might go for psych, accounting, teaching....hell, even sociology. Maybe some stink at math and it's keeping them out of engineering, sure, but maybe some actually want to be social workers, teachers, accountants, counselors. Most people simply don't share an engineer's enthusiasm for bridge-building (or whatever).

So, basically, arguing over the relative difficulty of majors isn't really the point. I swear...it's like a big academic pissing contest in this thread...


I never argued that I'm extra special. I argued that 1) engineering is harder than your major, and 2) engineers deserve any supposed "boost" they get in law admissions. I clearly labeled the rest to be tangential, and agree it isn't the point. My main point hasn't yet been addressed though. I have no idea why a poli sci major who has a 3.55 and is top 30% of his class thinks he is entitled to better odds at admission at law school than an engineer who has a 3.23 and is top 30% of his class at each of their respective universities. Furthermore, it absolutely boggles my mind why a polic sci major who has a 3.23 GPA thinks he is entitled to the same prospects as an engineer with a 3.23 GPA, because given the relative curves, the engineer outranked more of his peers with the same GPA.

Also, engineering isn't boring, and I don't build bridges. It's a rigorous intellectual exercise, and is quite the engaging challenge. When I was interviewing, I was solicited by top10 consulting firms, top5 investment firms, etc. Engineers can still be teachers, or anything they want. They chose the practical degree, either for genuine subject interest or, in my case, for the freedom of choice. I have personally worked as a teacher and at a top investment banking firm in my past. So your post is built upon your own personal opinion that engineering is boring, which you're entitled to, but there are many factors that may contribute to you thinking it's boring, such as for example an inability to perform in high-level mathematics courses.

The subjectively more awesome careers you speak of are subject to immense debate. Accounting is awesome? Accounting is reduntant and offers little to no mental challenge, except maybe manipulating balance sheets to show misleading profits to investors. It would be very difficult to find an accountant who loves his job. I know accountants, and none of them fit this bill.

As to the rest of them, sure, some people love teaching and that's a professional avenue that I have immense respect for. I may retire to teaching one day myself. There's little value, though, in most other degrees. I have plenty of friends who took degrees in psychology, history, anthropology, philosophy, etc. with the intent of "working as a psychologist" or "working for the government" and they are now living in their parents basements and working as servers. Some of them stayed in school to get masters degrees, too. These people are also living in their parents basements and working as bartenders. The ones that got jobs are making $30k-$40k at jobs they don't like, such as human resources positions as just one example, in cities with high COL. Yes, some of them make it, but road is a lot harder and subjectively seems extremely shitty relative to working hard for 4 years at an engineering degree, to me at least.

edit: there is value in business degrees. Sorry, I glossed over this. I just want to make it clear that I have immense respect for anyone who pursued any type professional degree, including accountants, teachers, engineers, successful pre-med students, and yes, you, the life-long aspiring lawyer who studied something you found fun during UG knowing you were moving on to something practical.


lol you really are a special little pearl aren't you. As a math and economics major, that bit of 'simple economics' made me cringe.

Have you considered that there are intelligent people that simply aren't interested in engineering (partially to to its purported difficulty, maybe) and choose their majors and hence potential careers based on something other than practical/monetary considerations.
It' not as though only a select few are allowed to major in engineering/math/physics at their respective universities; students generally choose or choose not to major in the aforementioned fields. The presence of choice means that there's little or no correlation between mathematical competency (which you equate to intelligence) and your major; for all we know, students who could have been engineering masterminds chose to pursue a liberal arts degree because at the time, they found it more interesting.

This mentality that math and those disciplines that are heavily grounded in it are esoteric fields beyond the grasp of the majority also befuddles me because they're not. Seriously, the conceit/narrowmindedness of some of the engineers on this board is rather overwhelming.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:33 pm

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
What is this mythical high paying, always interesting job that presumably has no other downside or barrier to entry that explains why it is highly paid?


When did I say anything that is remotely like this statement? I'm talking about subjective preferences.


ScaredWorkedBored wrote:And no, lawyer doesn't count unless you think that most of discovery or due diligence or reading a record is anything other than eye-bleeding. In which case I would wonder how much research youv'e done about your intended profession.

You've advanced that engineering has additional costs related to shittiness of work. Provide a counter-example profession.


Well, given that you've stipulated that my own profession of choice (since we're talking about subjective preferences) doesn't count, I'm going to go with market/price analysis or accounting. You can make a living, it's not boring to me, and you can work your way up for a few years and then maybe go for an MBA at some point. I could also see myself getting into nonprofit management or becoming a professor. These aren't perfect jobs, but you know what? They'd make me infinitely happier than being an engineer.

Edit: I forgot real estate broker/appraiser.
Last edited by prezidentv8 on Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:35 pm

Hahahaha....I like this....this thread has regressed into Engineering vs. Econ - an immovable object vs. and unstoppable force. Jeez.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby tesoro » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:43 pm

fable2 wrote:lol you really are a special little pearl aren't you. As a math and economics major, that bit of 'simple economics' made me cringe.

Have you considered that there are intelligent people that simply aren't interested in engineering (partially to to its purported difficulty, maybe) and choose their majors and hence potential careers based on something other than practical/monetary considerations.
It' not as though only a select few are allowed to major in engineering/math/physics at their respective universities; students generally choose or choose not to major in the aforementioned fields. The presence of choice means that there's little or no correlation between mathematical competency (which you equate to intelligence) and your major; for all we know, students who could have been engineering masterminds chose to pursue a liberal arts degree because at the time, they found it more interesting.

This mentality that math and those disciplines that are heavily grounded in it are esoteric fields beyond the grasp of the majority also befuddles me because they're not. Seriously, the conceit/narrowmindedness of some of the engineers on this board is rather overwhelming.


lol ya i considered that lol.

I didn't argue engineering is the only way. To summarize my above remarks in one sentence: Professional degrees are by and large the only degrees that are worth the risk in paying both tuition and the opportunity cost of income lost in attending college.

Any person with mathematical talent who chooses to pursue history, and only history, because they find history more interesting, is probably making an immature mistake (probably. meaning, unless that person is aspiring to work in academiaor another highly competitive field). There's a lot of propaganda out there telling american teenagers to chase their dreams and follow their passions. Unfortunately, outside of academia there are very few places for history majors to work other than Starbucks. The way our college system is structured, it is quite feasible for one with mathematical talent to take plenty of courses, or even minor or double major in another area of interest, while earning a degree that will help them get a job. Then, said math majors can go on to work at places that will pay them for their mathematical ability (for example, Goldman Sachs).

To foresake such an ability to study something "cool" and smoke pot for four years is downright stupid. When you pay for a degree, you're paying for an edge on the job market. To pay for a degree in something that does not give you an edge on the job market is to flush money down the toilet. You, fable, haven't done this so I'm not sure why you took offense to my input within discussion. No need to be a dick.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:56 pm

tesoro wrote:Professional degrees are by and large the only degrees that are worth the risk in paying both tuition and the opportunity cost of income lost in attending college.


Not to press the issue too much, because again, from a practical and relative perspective, you're most likely right. It's just that those practical considerations aren't the most important things to a lot of people.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby Quine » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:00 pm

fable2 wrote:Have you considered that there are intelligent people that simply aren't interested in engineering (partially to to its purported difficulty, maybe) and choose their majors and hence potential careers based on something other than practical/monetary considerations.

This mentality that math and those disciplines that are heavily grounded in it are esoteric fields beyond the grasp of the majority also befuddles me because they're not. Seriously, the conceit/narrowmindedness of some of the engineers on this board is rather overwhelming.


+1

I would add, however, that investing in yourself intellectually beyond the scope of what is marketable is not impractical.

I won't likely be able to find a job in the field of philosophy fresh out of undergrad, but I wouldn't trade what I've learned and the perspective I've gained for a degree in engineering.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby tesoro » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:04 pm

mctj wrote:
fable2 wrote:Have you considered that there are intelligent people that simply aren't interested in engineering (partially to to its purported difficulty, maybe) and choose their majors and hence potential careers based on something other than practical/monetary considerations.

This mentality that math and those disciplines that are heavily grounded in it are esoteric fields beyond the grasp of the majority also befuddles me because they're not. Seriously, the conceit/narrowmindedness of some of the engineers on this board is rather overwhelming.


+1

I would add, however, that investing in yourself intellectually beyond the scope of what is marketable is not an impractical consideration.

I won't likely be able to find a job in the field of philosophy fresh out of undergrad, but I wouldn't trade what I've learned and the perspective I've gained for a degree in engineering.



You probably don't need to. Philosophy is great, and since you're here I'm assuming you're a law school applicant/student. You'll find the perspective very helpful in law school. As an aspiring law school student, philosophy is a practical degree to pursue.

Also, it's perfectly reasonable to invest in yourself beyond the scope of what is marketable. For example, taking electives in impractical areas or earning a minor/double major in impractical areas. Hell, or just taking night school / buying textbooks and learning on your own / joining philosophy clubs if you live in a metropolitan area. This could be great for personal gratification or just general well-roundedness. You don't need to sacrifice practicality for it.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:12 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
tesoro wrote:Professional degrees are by and large the only degrees that are worth the risk in paying both tuition and the opportunity cost of income lost in attending college.


Not to press the issue too much, because again, from a practical and relative perspective, you're most likely right. It's just that those practical considerations aren't the most important things to a lot of people.


That ceases to be the case once Mom & Dad stop paying for everything.

My sister has done a good job of being a total disaster by ignoring how much one actually needs to earn versus the lifestyle one wants. Trust me, this nonsense of assuming the income will take care of itself while you expand your mind just doesn't work.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby Quine » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:17 pm

tesoro wrote:
mctj wrote:
fable2 wrote:Have you considered that there are intelligent people that simply aren't interested in engineering (partially to to its purported difficulty, maybe) and choose their majors and hence potential careers based on something other than practical/monetary considerations.

This mentality that math and those disciplines that are heavily grounded in it are esoteric fields beyond the grasp of the majority also befuddles me because they're not. Seriously, the conceit/narrowmindedness of some of the engineers on this board is rather overwhelming.


+1

I would add, however, that investing in yourself intellectually beyond the scope of what is marketable is not an impractical consideration.

I won't likely be able to find a job in the field of philosophy fresh out of undergrad, but I wouldn't trade what I've learned and the perspective I've gained for a degree in engineering.



You probably don't need to. Philosophy is great, and since you're here I'm assuming you're a law school applicant/student. You'll find the perspective very helpful in law school. As an aspiring law school student, philosophy is a practical degree to pursue.

Also, it's perfectly reasonable to invest in yourself beyond the scope of what is marketable. For example, taking electives in impractical areas or earning a minor/double major in impractical areas. Hell, or just taking night school / buying textbooks and learning on your own / joining philosophy clubs if you live in a metropolitan area. This could be great for personal gratification or just general well-roundedness. You don't need to sacrifice practicality for it.


Well, I didn't end up sacrificing anything honestly. I'm getting degrees in biology/chemistry and philosophy (in three years). I'm just saying, even if given the choice to be handed a degree in engineering, or pursue philosophy over four years with no legal intentions, I'd still take philosophy.

To the bolded: My point was that intellectual development beyond what is marketable is practical, in the first place. You are not sacrificing one for the other.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:25 pm

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:
tesoro wrote:Professional degrees are by and large the only degrees that are worth the risk in paying both tuition and the opportunity cost of income lost in attending college.


Not to press the issue too much, because again, from a practical and relative perspective, you're most likely right. It's just that those practical considerations aren't the most important things to a lot of people.


That ceases to be the case once Mom & Dad stop paying for everything.

My sister has done a good job of being a total disaster by ignoring how much one actually needs to earn versus the lifestyle one wants. Trust me, this nonsense of assuming the income will take care of itself just doesn't work.


You're very good at moving arguments to their semi-illogical extremes aren't you? You went and took "practical considerations aren't the most important things," meaning that subjective preferences are important in determining why people choose their majors, and turned what I was trying to say into "ignoring how much one actually needs to earn versus the lifestyle one wants" and "this nonsense of assuming the income will take care of itself." Very good, but not related to what I just said, really. Note that I'm not making any argument that people should "follow their dreams" or anything of the sort. I'm saying that people generally, in reality, gravitate toward things they like. A few more points:

1. "Once Mom and Dad stop paying" is kind of irrelevant, because all you've down is whittled down the group of people majoring in something into a subset that emphasizes practical considerations over others...maybe. Which ignores the point I actually made.

1-b. Communitity colleges and state schools are a beautifully cheap option once Mom and Dad stop paying.

2. Most people who work, at all, do not have degrees in a subject that would be considered practical for your purposes. So, even though the argument I did make isn't necessarily related to what you said, most people with bullshit degrees do, in fact, survive just fine and make enough money without "the income tak[ing] care of itself."

3. On a personal note, I'll take poor and happy over miserable yuppie.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby drsomebody » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:26 pm

tesoro wrote:
drsomebody wrote:
ENGINEERD wrote:I know I am bias because I am an engineering major but it is retarded to argue that any liberal arts major is as hard as electrical engineering. (Which is not my major) Just take a look into any senior level electrical engineer text book and see if you can understand any of it. I certainly can pick up a political science text book and understand at least some part of it. It would be nice if all majors were created equal but they are not so give credit where it is due.


This is a fun argument. Following this logic should I presume that, say, Chinese is the most difficult topic to study in a university because I couldn't pick up even an introductory text book and make sense of it?


I think you sort of destroyed the analogy here. This guy is a Chinese major. S/he learned all the fundamentals of Chinese (Pinyn, tones, cheng-yu, calligraphy, probably poetry, and depending on which type of Chinese he may have background in writing both traditional and simplified), and couldn't understand any Classical Chinese. Why? Because Classical Chinese courses go into metaphoric reasoning, linguistic shifts, and rhetorical concepts that are HARD. I was an Chinese major. When I would walk into a class like "Introduction to Classical Chinese," I would have no fucking clue what was going on. None. Zero. I was typically an A student. In order to understand the 12 pages of poems that draw on every single foundations class I ever took, I had to attend office hours at every possible timeslot, and absolutely work my balls off to gain mild understanding.


There, fixed.
Last edited by drsomebody on Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby drsomebody » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:37 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:
tesoro wrote:Professional degrees are by and large the only degrees that are worth the risk in paying both tuition and the opportunity cost of income lost in attending college.


Not to press the issue too much, because again, from a practical and relative perspective, you're most likely right. It's just that those practical considerations aren't the most important things to a lot of people.


That ceases to be the case once Mom & Dad stop paying for everything.

My sister has done a good job of being a total disaster by ignoring how much one actually needs to earn versus the lifestyle one wants. Trust me, this nonsense of assuming the income will take care of itself just doesn't work.


1. "Once Mom and Dad stop paying" is kind of irrelevant, because all you've down is whittled down the group of people majoring in something into a subset that emphasizes practical considerations over others...maybe. Which ignores the point I actually made.

1-b. Communitity colleges and state schools are a beautifully cheap option once Mom and Dad stop paying.

2. Most people who work, at all, do not have degrees in a subject that would be considered practical for your purposes. So, even though the argument I did make isn't necessarily related to what you said, most people with bullshit degrees do, in fact, survive just fine and make enough money without "the income tak[ing] care of itself."

3. On a personal note, I'll take poor and happy over miserable yuppie.


On a related note, Brian Leiter recently posted some excerpts from an interesting piece in Harper's that touches upon this very topic http://leiterreports.typepad.com/.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby tinman » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:46 pm

tesoro wrote:Any person with mathematical talent who chooses to pursue history, and only history, because they find history more interesting, is probably making an immature mistake (probably. meaning, unless that person is aspiring to work in academiaor another highly competitive field). There's a lot of propaganda out there telling american teenagers to chase their dreams and follow their passions. Unfortunately, outside of academia there are very few places for history majors to work other than Starbucks. The way our college system is structured, it is quite feasible for one with mathematical talent to take plenty of courses, or even minor or double major in another area of interest, while earning a degree that will help them get a job. Then, said math majors can go on to work at places that will pay them for their mathematical ability (for example, Goldman Sachs).

To foresake such an ability to study something "cool" and smoke pot for four years is downright stupid. When you pay for a degree, you're paying for an edge on the job market. To pay for a degree in something that does not give you an edge on the job market is to flush money down the toilet. You, fable, haven't done this so I'm not sure why you took offense to my input within discussion. No need to be a dick.


I was defending you before by agreeing that the lower GPAs typical to engineering majors should be more of a factor when engineers apply to law school, but I must say that I find this later posting asinine.

You seem to only value money. Such is a shallow life indeed, as far as I'm concerned. I majored in history and find studying history one of the most worthwhile endeavors we humans can undertake. I have much more natural talent in mathematics than in the humanities, but I choose to study history because I find it intrinsically valuable. I had no vocational goal in mind. I studied some science too, but again with no practical applications in mind. I don't regret it at all. Smart and resourceful people can always find gainful employment (of after taking a silly few hour exam gain admission to a top law school). And even if that were not so, I would rather be poor with some perspective and understanding of life and history than some engineering tool with money. We live in an affluent society. Absent some global catastrophe, we on this board will all live comfortable lives. I envy the people that are satisfied working simple jobs with their history majors. I consider the ambition that drives me to law school a vice and not a virtue. I would not look down on history majors. They will be your bosses some day.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby englawyer » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:07 pm

tinman wrote:
I was defending you before by agreeing that the lower GPAs typical to engineering majors should be more of a factor when engineers apply to law school, but I must say that I find this later posting asinine.

You seem to only value money. Such is a shallow life indeed, as far as I'm concerned. I majored in history and find studying history one of the most worthwhile endeavors we humans can undertake. I have much more natural talent in mathematics than in the humanities, but I choose to study history because I find it intrinsically valuable. I had no vocational goal in mind. I studied some science too, but again with no practical applications in mind. I don't regret it at all. Smart and resourceful people can always find gainful employment (of after taking a silly few hour exam gain admission to a top law school). And even if that were not so, I would rather be poor with some perspective and understanding of life and history than some engineering tool with money. We live in an affluent society. Absent some global catastrophe, we on this board will all live comfortable lives. I envy the people that are satisfied working simple jobs with their history majors. I consider the ambition that drives me to law school a vice and not a virtue. I would not look down on history majors. They will be your bosses some day.


there are a few problems here.

first, you have to be very resourceful and smart to find gainful employment. the silly few hour exam is a significant barrier to entry to many. in the grand scheme of things, a 160 is pretty hard to come by.

second, aside from the top 10 or so schools, where liberal arts majors have a chance at great jobs, the situation is bleak. i know quite a few folks who began their "careers" working retail or temp jobs after college. the engineering/biz/IT majors usually can get a decent job even from a no-name school.

third, aside from a select few fields (engineering, accounting, etc), the world is about who you know , not what you know. this totally screws those who bought into the "follow your dreams" idea and went to a midling private or state school because chances are they have no nepotistic connections.

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Re: How much do "hard" majors help?

Postby 84Sunbird2000 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:19 pm

tinman wrote:
tesoro wrote:Any person with mathematical talent who chooses to pursue history, and only history, because they find history more interesting, is probably making an immature mistake (probably. meaning, unless that person is aspiring to work in academiaor another highly competitive field). There's a lot of propaganda out there telling american teenagers to chase their dreams and follow their passions. Unfortunately, outside of academia there are very few places for history majors to work other than Starbucks. The way our college system is structured, it is quite feasible for one with mathematical talent to take plenty of courses, or even minor or double major in another area of interest, while earning a degree that will help them get a job. Then, said math majors can go on to work at places that will pay them for their mathematical ability (for example, Goldman Sachs).

To foresake such an ability to study something "cool" and smoke pot for four years is downright stupid. When you pay for a degree, you're paying for an edge on the job market. To pay for a degree in something that does not give you an edge on the job market is to flush money down the toilet. You, fable, haven't done this so I'm not sure why you took offense to my input within discussion. No need to be a dick.


I was defending you before by agreeing that the lower GPAs typical to engineering majors should be more of a factor when engineers apply to law school, but I must say that I find this later posting asinine.

You seem to only value money. Such is a shallow life indeed, as far as I'm concerned. I majored in history and find studying history one of the most worthwhile endeavors we humans can undertake. I have much more natural talent in mathematics than in the humanities, but I choose to study history because I find it intrinsically valuable. I had no vocational goal in mind. I studied some science too, but again with no practical applications in mind. I don't regret it at all. Smart and resourceful people can always find gainful employment (of after taking a silly few hour exam gain admission to a top law school). And even if that were not so, I would rather be poor with some perspective and understanding of life and history than some engineering tool with money. We live in an affluent society. Absent some global catastrophe, we on this board will all live comfortable lives. I envy the people that are satisfied working simple jobs with their history majors. I consider the ambition that drives me to law school a vice and not a virtue. I would not look down on history majors. They will be your bosses some day.


+1 (x2)^5

I applied to several MFA in Creative Writing programs before I got my LSAT back, because I've always thought it would be nice to be a professor, even at the Community College Level. However, I've got that overarching, ridiculous "save-the-world, make an enormous difference" ambition, and feel I might better achieve that being a lawyer and eventually going into politics. Yes, willfully naive, but anyways.....

Nonetheless, I know my natural dispositions are towards math and science. I scored higher on math/science reasoning on the ACT than the other categories. I aced the GRE quant (800) vs. verbal (650), even though I haven't taken a math class in 6 years, but HAVE amassed 50-plus credits of English in my major and minor. Yet, I think that if I wanted to live a self-actualized life rather than fulfill some sort of social-martyr thing, writing and reading and philosophizing and living in a 2-bedroom house with old shag carpeting in the Appalachians would be the way to go. That might be how it ends (someday) anyhow.

I do think college class rank would be a bit better definition than GPA, but then it's very hard to compare the "objective" quality of the college one attends (for law admissions purposes) except against the LSAT average of the school. Then we have a whole new bag of worms (90th percentile at a 50th percentile school....how to measure?).....I think it's sort of an intractable clusterfuck at some/all points.




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