Debunking college major stereotypes


by Sosie Gehling, Staff Reporter

Simpson is renowned for its unique outlook on academics.

Whether it’s using role-playing history games as a tool for learning or making video games as a final project, Simpson knows that the best way for students to learn is by first capturing their interest.

Each major has its own way of gaining students’ interests, but does the major define the person?

College major stereotypes are widespread, and there’s a stereotype for just about everything.

To put this to the test, three different students from three different majors were interviewed on various questions about themselves, their personality and their major’s stereotype to see if personality really does coincide with majors and to see if the stereotypes around majors are actually fact or not.


It is said English majors always have their nose stuck in a book and coffee never leaves their hands. English majors are notorious for having ideas but being unable to complete them. Supposedly, they’re quiet, bookish, intellectual and constantly tired.

Sophomore Shelby Minnmann is an English and French double major. When asked why she chose her major, she said, “I always liked to write, and so I wanted to do something with writing. I was never interested in young adult novels, and I started reading books for my language and composition class and loved them.”

She describes her personality as open-minded, compassionate, intellectual and a little sassy. Others describe her as kind and determined, which are not traits that are normally assumed for an English major.

Minnmann said that others in her major didn’t necessarily fit the stereotype, either. In fact, she said, she never paid much attention to the stereotype.

“It’s not anything that originally occurred to me,” she said.


Math majors are rumored to be pasty, scrawny individuals who almost never see the light of day. They’re nerdy and speak another language. The only people who understand them are other math majors. 

At first glance, Dalten Cross, who is studying actuarial science, would not seem like the type of person to be interested in math. He is neither pasty nor scrawny, and can be seen walking around campus enjoying the sun frequently. While he admits to being nerdy and speaking the hardest foreign language there is (math), he says he also enjoys sports and going out with friends.

He describes himself as quiet and studious, and others describe him as humorous and friendly. He spends much of his free time in the music building, and can speak Midwestern-American just fine.

How do the people in his major size up? Do they fit the stereotype? Not exactly.

“Some of us fit into it, and I do sometimes, but I like to get out too. When I’m away from my major is when the stereotypes start to break down.” Cross said.


Dramatic is their middle name, and being sassy is their game. You’ll know when you see a theatre major: the bright, brash clothing, loud voices and boisterous vibe say it all.

Theatre majors are supposedly over-dramatic, exhausted yet energetic and can often be seen quoting movies, plays and musicals.

Gillian Randall, who studies theatre arts, said at Simpson, the classic theatre stereotype doesn’t exist.

“All of us are different, that’s what makes us work so well.” Randall said.

Her personality is described as upbeat, personable, dedicated and honest, and her pastimes involve reading, decorating and binge-watching TV.

What about the others in her major? Randall believes that nobody fits that stereotype, at least, not all the time.

“We are like that some times, but it’s a very shallow look into how we function in our department. We are more like a family.”

So, is it just Simpson that breaks the bubble, or do the stereotypes simply not exist? When asked this question, each student answered that because Simpson is such a small community, it is hard to stereotype its students.

Stereotypes can be harmful and annoying, but the Simpson community holds up its standards of being unique.

And just because someone might fit a part of a stereotype, does not mean that’s who you are.

“Fitting one point of that stereotype doesn’t make you that stereotype. I think I have pieces of that stereotype, but that’s just the way Shelby is.”