Even in colleges of the liberal arts and sciences such as Harvard, an emphasis on majors believed to land a good job, or to favor being admitted to law, business, or medical schools, is usually justified by an appeal to 'utility,' to a supposedly clear-sighted appraisal of what the 'real' world demands of college graduates. This has become a dominant myth of much American higher education, and some of its strongest advocates are parents. If it is assumed that these 'occupational' courses and majors are superior preparation for adult life, and if no one steps forward to challenge that assumption, then they will seem more attractive. In today’s fast evolving world, leaders across the spectrum of vocations and professions need a broad imaginative and critical capacity, not a prematurely narrow point of view. In terms of the actual world, a solid liberal arts and sciences education will generally prove the most practical preparation for many demanding, high-level careers, or for the several careers that an increasing number of adults will eventually pursue. No particular concentration or area of study is inherently a better ticket to security, leadership, or personal satisfaction than another. Students should be encouraged to follow their passions and interests, not what they guess (or what others tell them) will lead to a supposedly more marketable set of skills."
Professor of English and Comparative Literature