According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2008), only 58% of students enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program between 1995 and 1996 had successfully completed their degree by 2001 (Allen & Robbins, 2010). Some studies examining the frequency with which students change their major during their undergraduate education also offer insight into the potential reasons underlying the delayed graduation rates observed in Allen and Robbins’ (2010) study; for instance, a study by the U.S. Department of Education (2017) found that within three years of enrollment, about 30% of students pursuing a bachelor’s or associate’s degree had changed their major. At first glance, these statistics documenting untimely graduation and low rates of major stability might seem mundane, or appear to be phenomena for which students alone can devise a solution; they may also seem to explain themselves to some extent, in the sense that a student’s decision to change their major might be a factor in delayed graduation rates. However, research on student major selection suggests that these trends reflect certain deeper psychological constructs and external circumstances that may be related to academic outcomes among undergraduates in important ways. What follows is an original instance of scholarship that applies Holland’s theory of vocational preferences (1997) to understand the relationship between major-interest fit, academic outcomes, and covariates of this relationship. Although the findings of the present study generally challenged Holland’s theory (1997), these inconsistencies are parsed and their implications for future research/practitioners are discussed.
Dr. Dara Musher-Eizenman
First Advisor Department
Dr. Hyeyoung Bang
Second Advisor Department
Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy
Third Advisor Department
Kamath, Sneha, "Interest-Major Fit and Satisfaction: Extending Theories of Occupational Fit to Predict Academic Outcomes" (2023). Honors Projects. 910.