By MATT KURZMANNATT/Getty ImagesCollege students are in high demand as they await the start of classes this spring.
The number of online courses has exploded in recent years, and the number of majors at more than 100 colleges and universities has increased by nearly 10% in the past five years, according to the Association of American Universities.
This is driven in part by students looking for new learning opportunities, which means more and more courses are offering majors outside the traditional fields.
While many of these majors are in humanities, science and technology, a large number of students are studying economics, history and public administration.
“We have an epidemic of students that are not in STEM, but instead are in economics, public administration and even a couple of different majors,” said Chris Bowers, vice president for education at the Association for College Admission Counseling.
Bowers said there is no shortage of people looking for a job that requires a degree in a subject.
“It’s not a bad time to be an economist, a public official, a history professor, a sociology professor, etc.,” he said.
The demand for these majors is especially intense in the college-level, Bowers said.
He said the number one reason for the increase in demand is the increase of students who want to spend more time in the classroom.
But the demand for majors in other subjects is also increasing.
“You’ve got the boom of social media, and then there’s also the boom in technology, the boom for self-employment and so forth,” he said, adding that this is also driving more students to pursue degrees in a different field.
Bower said that while the number and intensity of online programs has increased, the number on campus is also on the rise.
He noted that a majority of students today are on a campus where they don’t have to travel outside the city for classes.
“That’s not to say there’s not some students who are not getting to do this.
But they are the ones that we’re seeing that are doing it in different ways,” he added.
In a new report, Bower said online courses offer students an additional benefit over traditional classroom experiences.
He said students are more likely to take a class online because it gives them the chance to learn something that they’re not going to do in a classroom.
“The biggest difference between online classes and traditional classes is that online classes provide students with a way to actually experience what it’s like to actually do the course,” he explained.
“In a traditional class, you sit in a chair and you learn from someone, so it’s all about listening and understanding, but it’s not about getting the answers.”
Bowers explained that when students take online classes, they’re able to interact with professors who are more experienced in their field.
“So, you’re not just sitting there and waiting for someone to teach you,” he noted.
The online environment can also lead to a deeper understanding of the material and a more positive relationship with the professor.
“In a classroom, you’ve got one person to one conversation,” he told NBC News.
“It’s a very limited space, and so if you can get a deeper relationship with that person, you can actually learn more about what that person is doing.”
Bower added that while students are eager to get an online education, they are also looking for the best option for them.
“There’s this myth that you have to go to a traditional classroom to get a degree,” he continued.
“You know, I would argue that there are a lot of good, value-added opportunities in a virtual classroom that you can really get in on the way that traditional classrooms can.”
According to Bowers and others, online education offers students an alternative way to explore their interests and interests in other ways.
“I think it’s an excellent alternative to traditional classrooms, where you have a bunch of people coming in and having a conversation,” said Bowers.
“Instead, students are doing things online that aren’t as well structured, and you’re in the presence of people who are also learning from you.”
For Bowers it’s about the opportunity to be part of a community of learners.
“When you have an environment where you’re talking to people from all different walks of life and where they’re all learning from each other, it’s really empowering,” he concluded.