The Decisions- Making Process involved in Degree Selection by Students

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Matthews, Kate
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
With over 19 million students enrolled in college, understanding the degree selection process is important for departments, colleges, and universities alike. As the number of traditional college-aged students declines, this information is even more important as universities, colleges, and departments will be fighting for majors. For students, selecting the proper major early on reduces time in school, resulting in lower tuition costs. Therefore, a better understanding of the degree selection process is beneficial for both parties involved. Data was collected from 1,177 undergraduate students at Middle Tennessee State University using a Qualtrics survey. The survey asked questions about personality types, reasons for selecting a major, and a variety of attitude and demographic items. The results were investigated in a variety of ways and displayed in individual tables to examine differences in means and responses. The results indicate that the highest ranked reasons that students select a major are interest and passion. Next, they feel the major is a fit with their personality type. Further, when changing a major, the highest reason for doing so was also interest and passion, followed again by fit with personality. While students seek support from their families for the major that they selected, family influence was not a significant contributor to selecting the degree with the exception of students in the College of Business. Five differences were found based on gender. Additionally, several differences were noted based on class standing and college. Recommendations are based on the results of this study are provided.