Applicants Per Major

<p>Is it ever possible to find out approximately how many people applied to a particular major at a particular school, or is that nit-picking? Or even to find out approximately how many students are in a particular major?</p>

<p>I've never seen "applied to a major" numbers, since most American universities don't have binding major choices upon application. The closest you come is with universities that have multiple "schools" that take separate applications -- like Cornell, Northwestern, or Michigan, and lots of other state universities -- that usually post application/acceptance data broken out by school. </p>

<p>Some places definitely make available data on the number of students who are majors in each department, or at least the number of each major in a particular graduating class. I know I've seen it for Swarthmore, because I looked something up for a relative recently. But I doubt everyone does it, and I suspect you have to poke around a bit to find the information.</p>

<p>Thank you JHS. I was just curious as to find out how "good" schools are in particular majors and have no idea how to find that out. Poking around seems a good idea. I guess when she gets closer, she could email the schools, right? Or is that too pushy?</p>

<p>I don't think it is pushy to ask. If the Common Data Set is made public, I believe there is a section that reports the number of graduates in each discipline (I know that's not as specific as actual number in a major).</p>

<p>too pushy IMO.</p>

<p>Menlo, how does one compare departments in the same major between different colleges?</p>


<p>I can give you one example of how this type of research is not only not 'too pushy', it's vital! :) My D2 is a drama grad from NYU. When she was applying to colleges many moons ago (and it's true, maybe even more-so today!), obtaining information on the number of applicants/auditionees to various drama programs was an important part of the admissions process. Head on over to the Musical Theatre forum for confirmation of this! These departments will provide a prospective applicant with information on how many have applied/auditioned, how many have been accepted, and how many have enrolled, historically. I haven't heard of any program that has been hesitant in divulging that information. It may not be officially posted on their websites but it can always be obtained directly from the department.</p>

<p>Comparing departments of particular majors can include a close examination of the curriculum, in addition to studying the course options available over the four year program. Questions should be asked about whether all courses are available every year, and if not, what is the usual change in the course calendar. How difficult is it for students to get into the courses they want/require? Current students are an important resource and can usually be contacted through the individual college, if requested, or through online communities like livejournal. Professors can be researched in the same way, or via individual college survey systems or What you need to keep in mind in this type of research is that one person's opinion may not necessarily be definitive of the situation at hand, but each piece can be a part of the puzzle, and a relatively clear picture of a program may emerge with each added piece. Depending on the major, you may also want information on alumni of particular programs, what type of jobs recent grads have found, recruiting on campus, grad school stats, etc. Obviously, it will be a little different for majors other than ones which are specifically stated during the application process but the questions about numbers in a particular major should still be able to be determined.</p>

<p>Not sure if any of that helps but one piece of advice I'd give is, don't be afraid to ask questions of these colleges. Most departments are very eager to answer your questions to the best of their abilities. Parents and prospective students have every right to ask these questions. Good luck!</p>

<p>Studying course opportunities and faculty profiles is the best way to assess the strength of a particular program. Weaker departments offer very few courses and very few full-time faculty. Pull up the institution's course offerings online and comb through them.</p>

<p>For example, my niece was interested in Classics. Turns out that 'deep' classics departments are nearly impossible to find. Lots of LACS offer eight to ten courses--not enough to keep a passionate kid engaged. Visual arts is another area which always has coverage--but the course choice and/or facilities might be severely limited.</p>

<p>You can also use to get an up-to-the-minute understadning of the professor int he classroom. Keep in mind that kids often rate intellectual professors as "too tough!'. You have to read between the lines a bit.</p>

<p>Thank you so much Alwaysamom. That was enormously helpful.</p>

<p>"For example, my niece was interested in Classics"</p>

<p>Coincidentally, The Demon plans (at this point) to major in classics, so that's specifically what we're looking for. If it's not too personal, did your niece choose that major and where?</p>

<p>The number of kids in a major is a perfectly reasonable thing for an applicant to want to know. I'd dig around on websites first, but it's often quite hard to find. I wouldn't hesitate to call if I can't find the info on line relatively quickly. It can be quite interesting. For example, when I was trying to figure out just how small the Computer Science Department was I discovered there were only six German majors. Lots of kids take language classes, but few kids actually major in them. Looking at the course catalog will tell you that there are plenty of courses (or not as the case may be) looking at the number of majors helps you get a sense of how much individual attention you might get. You might that less than two kids in a major each year is just dandy, or not.</p>

Top 25 universities and top 25 LACs usually have good classics departments. So I would suggest you start there. Some publish their whole course catalogs online (Harvard does). Even if your child is not going to apply to one of those schools, reading some of these catalogs will give you a sense of the depth and breadth one could look for. You can then peruse the websites of colleges in which your child is interested.</p>

<p>Bear in mind that many of the language teachers are not ladder faculty; but that does not mean they are not excellent teachers. That in smaller departments, not all courses are offered every year (and that profs go on leave. Harvard puts courses that are not offered in a particular year in brackets but includes them so that students can plan their courses over at least a two year period).</p>

<p>My D is majoring in Classics. There were many superb schools, such as Northwestern, which she didn't bother looking at too closely, either because their Classics courses were pretty thin on the ground, or focused more on Classical Civilization than on the languages, which are her main interest. HYP, Brown, UChicago, Boston U., Bryn Mawr (is The Demon male or female?), UCLA and Berkeley are all considered to have excellent departments, from what I remember of her research.</p>

<p>If her high school has a good classics program, then there ought to be decent word of mouth about which universities have good programs. Both my children had a number of friends who were classics-driven, and some of them did a lot of research on classics departments. (Classics professors, grad students, and undergraduate majors were generally very willing to discuss this, especially with attractive young women. They were generally quite objective about programs other than their own.) Places where known classics fans wound up have included Yale, Columbia, Brown, Chicago, Penn, McGill, and Toronto. (Note that some of the college choices were not driven only by classics issues.)</p>

<p>Here is a list of graduate classics programs ranked by some index of faculty reputation. I can't vouch for it (and it doesn't seem to include the Canadian universities in its database), but it's an interesting place to start:</p>

<li>Harvard University 4.8

<li>University of California-Berkeley 4.8 </li>
<li>University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 4.5 </li>
<li>Princeton University 4.2 </li>
<li>Brown University 4.1 </li>
<li>Yale University 4.1 </li>
<li>University of Chicago 4.0 </li>
<li>Columbia University in the City of New York 3.9 </li>
<li>The University of Texas at Austin 3.9 </li>
<li>University of California-Los Angeles 3.9 </li>
<li>University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 3.8 </li>
<li>Cornell University 3.7 </li>
<li>University of Pennsylvania 3.6 </li>
<li>Bryn Mawr College 3.5 </li>
<li>Duke University 3.4 </li>
<li>Stanford University 3.3 </li>
<li>University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 3.0 </li>
<li>University of Virginia-Main Campus 3.0</li>

<p>The Demon (i.e., "I am legion") is female. Unfortunately her high school has no classics program, she's in IB, but she's got a plan of her own! Thank you for the list! Going to give it to her if that's ok.</p>