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When Grades Suffer, College Students Ditch Science, Math -- Along With Good Jobs

It has been suggested that improved STEM education at the primary and secondary school level would better prepare and persuade students to pursue a career in a STEM field. In response to this theory, President Barack Obama recently committed $3.1 billion to improve national STEM education efforts, with roughly $450 million directed toward increasing the number of trained STEM educators and developing new STEM programs. Last month, the Obama administration announced it also plans to create a national STEM Master Teacher Corps, to be piloted in 50 locations across the country.

Of course, not everyone is in agreement that pursuing a career in a STEM field is the best way to ensure a more beneficial career path.

A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute claimed that more than half of students who graduate annually with a STEM degree are unable to find employment in their fields. The EPI also found that STEM wages have basically remained stagnant over the past decade (however, so have wages in many sectors across the board). These factors suggest there may be a future shortage as opposed to a surplus of STEM jobs in the U.S.

None of this will be of much help to those who don't excel at math or science or who simply do not wish to pursue a career in a STEM field.

"Not everyone is good at science or well enough prepared when they enter college, and maybe some people who switch should," writes Business Insider contributor Max Nisen.

Majoring in a subject one doesn't have any aptitude in or passion for will likely neither benefit that person or the particular field they enter.

Fortunately, there are indications a college graduate can still thrive even if he or she pursues a "softer" degree.

The ability to think critically, analyze data and write well offer leverage in climbing the career latter regardless of one's major, says Jim Tankersley in The Washington Post Magazine, writing on how to get a good job after college.

Nisen agrees.

"The humanities are a good bet because the things that are hardest to computerize or outsource are going to be all about skills that emphasize human interaction," Nisen says. "Empathy, sociability, writing, analyzing and reacting to people -- all things more likely to come from the humanities than hard sciences."
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