There's an arms race going on, and it has nothing to do with stockpiling nukes. It's a "credentials arms race among teenagers and college students" who are going to extreme measures to pad their resumes, writes New York Times columnist David Leonhardt. And that includes the double-major. Upon hearing that a student has a double major, Leonhardt writes, "my heart sinks just a little bit." While he concedes that some students truly have more than one academic interest they want to pursue, Leonhardt says most students who opt for a double-major—and there are more and more of them in recent years— are doing it for the aforementioned resume padding. But what's wrong with that? Well, per Leonhardt, students "learn more creatively by mastering a single major—and leaving themselves time to take classes in multiple other fields."
He quotes a Wellesly College student who wrote in a op-ed in her college paper that double majors squelch exploration of different fields. In general, Leonhardt argues, the "credentials arms race" can make well-to-do students seem more accomplished than others. And for those well-off students, it can take the joy out of learning as they load up on extracurricular activities and the like. Leonhardt closes with an excerpt of a recent speech by College Board President David Coleman that argues that students should, "Take the time to focus and do a few things well, and enjoy the golden time of high school," rather than pack their schedules with A.P. courses and extracurriculars—and, Leonhardt might add, double-majors once they get to college. (Read more opinion stories.)