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World needs scientists, students study art

As time goes on, it becomes harder and harder to get young adults to go to college. When they do, it's important for them to choose a path that will lead to a bright future. But what's just as important is to make sure exactly what the "future of our nation" is studying.

Many politicians, including President Barack Obama, have stressed the importance of science, tech careers and math. It is widely believed those fields, as well as engineering and medicine, are where our nation will reach the heights of competitors like China and Japan and blast us into the future.

But there's no denying that many of America's youth favor artistic or creative programs as well. Still others just don't know what they want to do.

Nursing, applied sciences bolster science statistics

At Laramie County Community College, as of fall 2011, the most pursued science degree being sought after is not a science class, but a medical one: pre-nursing. A total of 321 students have listed this as their major.

Some 687 of the 3,656 degree-seeking LCCC students are attempting to earn an associate of sciences degree (AS). Some of these majors include biology (93 students), engineering (73 students) and math (five students).

However, that does not include students trying to earn an associate of applied science degree (AAS). These students make up 1,257 of the degrees being sought at LCCC. These include majors like pre-nursing (321 students, the second highest degree being majored in), business management (101 students) and wind technology (48 students).

Another small percentage of students (about 3 percent or 93 students) are pursuing certificate programs. These majors include fire science technology (1 student) and nursing (16 students).

With all said and done, 56 percent of the students at LCCC are pursuing science/ career tech-related degrees.

Nerds trump artists

Now with all that math and calculation, can there be an assumption that the nerds will soon triumph over the creative people of the world, and America be controlled by the machines? Of the top 10 degrees being sought at LCCC, four are associate of arts degrees (AA). Those are general studies (591 students, the most of any degree), education (184 students), psychology (100 students) and early childhood education (68 students).

Now, before one jumps to conclusions and says more people are more interested in science and tech-related classes, there is one more fact to consider.

Of the 96 degrees LCCC offers, 27 are associate in arts degrees.

These range from history (30 students) to religious studies (two students) to human services (42 students). Associate of arts majors make up 44 percent of the degree-seeking.

"I don't think this is good or bad, just the way it is," said Ann Murray, manager of institutional research at LCCC, "helping students achieve their educational goal is the critical thing."

Whether you are Team Science or Team Art, there is one group of students who, although their area of study is considered an associate of arts degree, may lead others to feel they take the cake: the indecisive.

General studies trump all

The one degree that has more than 200 more students as its major than pre-nursing (the second most, at 321 students) is general studies at 591 students.

This degree is most commonly associated with students who may not really have a concrete idea of what career or degree they want to pursue. Instead, they major in general studies, which consists of taking basic level classes in order to get them out of the way.

"About 25–40 percent of students intend to transfer," said Murray, "so a lot of them take general studies."

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The National Center for Education Statistics

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