Tech’s Office of Admission’s website reads, “Georgia Tech offers degrees in thirty-four undergraduate majors, forty-seven master’s programs, and thirty doctoral programs as well as pre-professional programs in law, dentistry, medicine, teaching, pharmacy, and veterinary. Our programs of study are as diverse as the students enrolled in them.” That’s right. While only offering 34 majors, Tech still believes the area of studies offered by the school are diverse.
Unfortunately, that just is not true. North Carolina State University offers over 100 majors and Clemson offers 80. Even schools that are more comparable to Tech academically, such as Duke and Vanderbilt, offer 50 and 65 majors respectively.
Having such few majors limits the amount of people interested in attending a school, especially when it comes to prospective student athletes. If Tech were willing to add a few majors that athletes at others schools seem to be drawn to, it could make it significantly easier for Tech to recruit top athletes.
When it comes to regular students, as in students who are not athletes, it is fine for Tech to not offer that many majors. Even though Tech is still technically limiting the pool of prospective students, it is known as one of the top engineering schools in the country. So, Tech still receives plenty of applicants, top-notch high-school students who are interested in math and science, and is able to put together impressive freshman classes year in and year out.
If a regular student is not interested in the fields that Tech offers, then that’s fine. He or she can just go to another school, and it will not really hurt Tech in any way, but when it come to athletes, that is not the case. Tech has enough recruiting problems as it is—a smaller fan base, being in the ACC in the middle of SEC country, running the triple option—Tech should be doing everything in its control to shorten the list of items dissuading potential applicants.
It would obviously be impossible for Tech to offer every major that prospective student athletes could want, but if it were to add one, I would suggest a sports management major. Though not all student athletes have the same interests, the one that they all have in common, presumably, is that they enjoy sports. Sports management was the ninth most popular major of college football players in 2010.
It’s not that I believe that athletes are not smart enough to handle most of the majors that Tech currently offers. They just may not be interested, thus limiting the pool of players Tech has to recruit from.
Even if they are interested, it can be hard for student athletes to make the time commitment necessary to succeed in some of the areas of study. For example, former center Jay Finch came in and planned on majoring in Architecture. Once he realized how much time he would have to commit to it with all of the hours in studio, he decide it would be best to switch to Business.
If Tech were able to attract better athletes, and therefore have improved teams, through adding the major, not only would it help the athletics department, but it would also help the university as a whole.
Having better athletic teams gets universities more national exposure and typically leads to more students being interested. Since Nick Saban has arrived at Alabama and led the resurgence of their football program, they have seen a huge spike in applicants and their acceptance rate moved from 64 percent down to 53 percent.
Just like with recruiting athletes, if Tech were able to choose from a larger pool of applicants, that quality of the student would continue to increase.