Freshmen respond to survey

By Jami Peterson

This year’s freshman class said its future lies in accounting, not philosophy, according to an annual survey.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 210,739 freshmen from 431 universities nationwide were asked their intended majors. Although most of NIU’s results were similar to national percentages, NIU freshmen had their own ideas about certain fields.

Accounting received the highest percentage at NIU with 14.5 percent. However, nationally only 5.7 percent of freshmen polled chose accounting as their intended major.

Monique Bernoudy, an academic adviser in the College of Business, said she believes many freshmen choose their majors for the wrong reasons.

“Some students have unreal perspectives of what business will do for them,” Bernoudy said. “Students may pursue accounting because they feel they will make a lot of money.”

She said she believes students should choose majors they enjoy. “Majors determine the career you will have for the rest of your life,” she said.

The percentage of NIU students who chose fields in engineering was below the national percentage at each level. Only .3 percent of NIU students chose civil and chemical engineering, compared to 2.1 percent nationally.

Joy Pauschke, associate dean of the College of Engineering, said she believes many students choose engineering because they believe they will make a lot money.

“They know engineering has a high starting salary, but don’t really know how much work they have to put in,” she said.

Although the percentages are low, Pauschke said she feels the number of students in engineering has increased. The college is new and was accredited in record time, proving students get a good program, she said.

None of the freshmen polled, nationally or at NIU, chose philosophy as their intended major. However, acting Philosophy Chairman James Hudson said many students become philosophy majors while in college.

“The low numbers are due to the fact that they (freshmen) don’t understand philosophy,” Hudson said.

Sue Doederlein, assistant dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said students choose their majors based on the fields they know from high school. “After being at a university most students change their majors,” she said.

Mathematics was chosen by .6 percent of all freshmen nationally and at NIU. Robert Kuller, undergraduate studies director of the math department, said students should mainly choose a school based on its reputation.

Many required classes are not in a student’s chosen field of study, he said.”Students are taking courses all over the map.”

Andrew Brulle, director of Clinical Education and Student Services, said the number of students in education has remained consistent.

Because NIU began as a college of education, the programs and faculty are very good, he said. “I think we’re better than other universities,” Brulle said.