Title

How students choose a major: The effect of a college major decision-making course on a student's anxiety

Date of Completion

January 2005

Keywords

Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Higher

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a college major decision-making course on a student's level of anxiety about making the choice of major. This study investigated 18 undeclared, sophomore level college students (intervention group) at a four-year institution who enrolled in a course that was designed to educate them about their choices of major. This group was then compared to a control group of 22 undeclared, sophomore level college students (comparison group) at the same institution. The intervention group experienced an eight-week course for credit and a grade while the comparison group did not. The instrument used to determine the level of anxiety was the Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI). Results from the study were analyzed using a paired-samples t-test, analysis of co-variance (ANCOVA), analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Pearson correlation. The data revealed significant reduction in levels of anxiety for the intervention group while the data from the comparison group showed no significant changes from pretest to posttest. In addition, the intervention group reduced their anxiety at a greater rate than that of the comparison group. Although there is little literature regarding anxiety level as it pertains to declaring majors, the results of this study were consistent with the literature in that undeclared, sophomore level students reported feeling anxious about making a choice of major. ^ These findings suggest the need for more study about the anxiety level in students regarding their choice of college major in that anxiety level may influence a student's level of satisfaction about their choice of major. These findings may also suggest the need for more college major decision-making courses being offered on a campus. ^