Individualized Programs Growing in Popularity

In a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “Can’t Pick a College Major? Create One,” Anya Kamenetz, author of DIY U, notes that allowing students to create their own majors “introduces the idea that students should be in charge of designing their own learning plans.” Of course, New College students have been involved in designing their own majors for over 40 years now.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, more than 900 four-year colleges and universities have some form of “design your own major”—a 5.1% increase from five years ago. Aspiring entrepreneurs, the article states, are particularly drawn to New College-type programs that allow students the flexibility to take courses in business, computer science, psychology, etc. while participating in internships and starting a business on the side.

Another reason cited for the growing interest in individualized majors is the reality of today’s job market. Traditional disciplinary majors do not guarantee jobs like they once did. New College-type programs “allow students to plunge into emerging fields and anticipate job shifts,” the article concludes.