Analysis & Comment

Opinion | The Academic Arms Race

To the Editor:

Re “Do Not Double Major,” by David Leonhardt (Opinion Today newsletter, Oct. 24):

As a current undergraduate at Tulane University and double major in international relations and political economy, I feel compelled to respond. While intellectual curiosity certainly is a part of my decision to double major, I am not oblivious to the “credentials arms race” that is occurring. Indeed, this remains a large part of why I considered a double major in the first place.

As the child of two parents without advanced degrees and someone who relies entirely on financial aid to attend college, I am painfully aware of the leg up many of my peers have. I am surrounded by the upper middle class you speak of, and every day I am confronted with the reality that to achieve what they take for granted I must go above and beyond.

Double majoring and similar tactics have become a necessary evil. Frankly, I cannot afford the unilateral disarmament you propose.

Christian Hyde
New Orleans

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