We have a fair number of students doing a double major rather than a more traditional major and minor. We have some doing a double major and a minor. Some doing a major and two minors.
I was talking to a student the other day who's thinking of doing a double major, changing his current English minor to a major. It would take him at least an extra semester (he's well along in the minor, so he's not starting from scratch).
Why, I asked, after making clear that I'll do the paper work if he really wants me to.
He answered that he thought having two majors would make it easier to get a job.
So we talked. It's not my impression that having two majors makes it easier to get a job, unless one of those majors is in a really specific job field (such as nursing). But having two liberal arts majors isn't a huge advantage over having a major and a minor, so far as I can tell.
And it costs a lot. With books and food and a place to live, a semester here can cost more than $8K. (I realize you're laughing at that if you're somewhere that costs 40K a year, but we're not.)
There are good reasons to spend that 8K. If you think your happiness depends on a couple of courses, then that's money well spent. If you absolutely can't live without this major, then again, money well spent. But if your aim is to get a job, and the job title isn't "English major" then my sense is that it really doesn't matter.
We have a less than stellar four year graduation rate, though that's something the state and our own administration would like to change. And there's good reason to wish that more students could graduate in 4 years.
We have a pretty good five year rate, and a better 6 year rate, but the four year rate is low. I'm guessing there's a certain percentage of students who think that the opportunity cost of going for an extra semester or two is worth it if they can get an extra major on their transcript, because if one is good, then two must be better!
I sent the student off to talk to his other major advisor and to think about the costs before we did the paperwork (which, again, I am happy to do if he really does want to stay an extra semester).
The important question is about whether there really is an advantage to students in doing a second major rather than a major and a minor? What say you, wisdom of the internet? Do they learn a full year's worth of additional skills towards employment, or would they be better off graduating and getting on with their lives? (Yes, I know the economy sucks right now, but we still have a pretty darned impressive employment after graduation rate.)