In another survey on the same website that asked 91,882 college students
about their majors, economics came in second behind Chinese, while business
administration was third.
"Nowadays, most people are very pragmatic, said Yin Bihui, a teacher at the
Beijing Foreign Language (middle) School. "The whole society around them is
focusing on developing the economy, so most university students are thinking
about how to make more money."
But now the impractical choices are causing some embarrassment, educators
Xiong Bingqi, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, told China Youth
Daily: "Many pick the ones that, at first glance, are popular ones. What they
don't realize is that social needs determine whether a major is useful or not."
Zhuang Youming, head of the admission office at Jinan University in Guangzhou
told Guangzhou Daily that some students and their parents were "chasing majors
like fans chasing pop music stars."
Another problem is that the universities teaching the "hot" majors are
sacrificing quality for quantity, said Xiong, and "the quality of the large
number of graduates has been falling short of the market's needs."
It is not that students are unaware of the problem. Ran Xudong, a marketing
major student at the University of International Business and Economics in
Beijing, complained that businesses graduates need to gain practical experience,
but most of the courses were "too vague and general."
So, Xiong suggested, it might be time for senior middle school students and
parents to start thinking about how to choose a major more wisely.
"Don't be swayed by what seems popular," he said. "Selecting a major should
be based on students' interests and future social needs."
Huang Xinwei, a student at Tsinghua University, said he chose to study
chemical engineering because he believes that every nation needs to develop its
energy resources. The industry is vital to the country, and chemical engineering
graduates are now in high demand.
"But you can't be certain that a wonderful job will be waiting for you after
you graduate," he said.
His advice: "First, the major you choose should be in the range of your
interests. It might not be your favourite one, but certainly not something in a
totally different area like, say, you like maths but choose law. That will be a
Yu Xiaolong, headmaster of the Beijing Foreign Language School, said: "A
wrong major is not only a tragedy for the teenager but also a waste of the
nation's human resources."