We wanted to study the discrepancies in major distribution between the top 20 schools and those outside the top 20 because some majors are statistically proven to lead to more financially rewarding career paths. We looked to see if it was just a simple case of certain schools devoting more of its resources on academic fields with the highest financial potential.
As you can see in the bar graph, compared to all other schools outside of the top 20 in terms of mobility rate, the top 20 schools’ aggregate major distribution is dominated by STEM subjects as well as majors related to public/social work. There is a +8% percent change in the number of STEM students compared to the average major distribution of the schools outside of the top 20, as well as a +5% change in public/social work majors. Moreover, social sciences and trade and personal services are also attractive options for students who attend the top 20 schools. Perhaps not too surprisingly, there are fewer students in these schools who pursue the arts or humanities subjects, but in the same vein, I would not have expected the social sciences to be such a popular field. Also, there are fewer Business majors in these schools, which was also a bit of a surprise to me. Overall, I think the overall conclusion that can be drawn from this data is that students in the top 20 are more drawn to hard skills and the technical fields. Whether it is because these schools offer attractive programs in these departments and do a better job recruiting students who are interested in these subjects cannot be determined in this dataset.