Professor: The number of new university students who enter as chemistry majors has not changed in the last ten years,...

on September 11, 2019

Help please

How can we make the jump that the loss of intellectual appeal of the major will make people give up on that major?

Replies

Irina on September 11, 2019

@Minerva,

The stimulus tells us that the number of students that enter as chemistry majors remained the same but the number of graduates with the chemistry degree has declined. So what happens in between that the students give up on their initially chosen major?

(E) explains that first year chemistry courses are taught in such fashion, that chemistry is no longer an appealing field of study for students who previously founded it appealing and chose it as their major initially. Hence, this experience with the first year chemistry class leads to studying changing their major to a different discipline.

Let me know if this makes sense and if you have any further questions.

Aneesh on November 13, 2021

Hi @irina,

Can you please help me understand the jump between chemistry not being appealing and the number of degrees being earned? My reasoning for excluding this option was that though chemistry might be unappealing, it does not necessitate that fewer degrees would be earned because students' reasons for earning the degree could extend beyond the subject being appealing.

I picked "There has been a significant decline in the number of undergraduate degrees earned in the natural sciences as a whole" - which I can see is flawed because a decrease in the number of natural sciences doesn't indicate a proportionate decrease in chemistry degrees.

Are there any indicators I can look to so that I don't make this mistake again?

Jay on January 26 at 08:04PM

Hi @AneeshU, it seems like you have a good understanding of why the answer choice you picked is flawed. With regards to your question, I would actually say it's a bigger jump to assume that the decreasing appeal of chemistry has no impact on whether or not people actually major in it. Just because students' reasons for earning the degree could extend beyond the subject being appealing (i.e. there are multiple factors), when the program becomes much less appealing, sure some people might keep it because they want the jobs a chem degree offers but definitely some will leave because it's not interesting. Hope this helps, feel free to follow up.

Aneesh on June 6 at 10:10AM

Thanks for your explanation Jay.

I found this to be an interesting question because the premise that you relied on (i.e. "sure some people might keep it because they want the jobs a chem degree offers but definitely some will leave because it's not interesting") is not really cross-cultural/universal.

However, that's just an observation! I understand my mistake and that LSAC makes these questions, not you guys.

Emil on June 13 at 07:32PM

Hi AneeshU,

While I agree that the LSAC certainly does have a slant towards "mainstream north american culture" (whatever that means), I think the concept that a non-trivial number of people will leave a major because of a loss of intellectual appeal is pretty universal. While the degree may vary, pretty much any society with universities in which students choose their majors will involve trade offs between interest in the subject and job prospects. If chem becomes boring, and there are plenty of jobs available to physics majors, why would those chem majors who are bored not simply switch to physics?

Aneesh on June 14 at 11:57AM

Understood, thanks.