college major

Heads-up: Here’s how students pick a college major

When it comes to a college major, students seek advice in a variety of areas.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” The question is common enough, but many students hesitate when it comes time to declare a college major. Some students major in a subject for which they have passion, while others choose a field of study that will yield stable job options and a steady salary.

When students DO choose a college major, most receive advice from informal sources such as family members and friends, according to Major Influence: Where Students Get Valued Advice on What to Study in College, a new study from Gallup and Strada Education Network.

The report focuses on two specific areas: the resources or people students used to get advice about the major they were going to study, and how helpful the advice was.

Postsecondary leaders, policymakers, educators and employers can help students to be better-informed when choosing a field of study by increasing their exposure to different types of information and advice, according to the report. Reworking support models could be especially helpful to the students who need it most.

(Next page: Where do students seek advice, and which advice carries more weight?)

Laura Ascione

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