Adam Thomas Solomon



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Over half of all students who withdraw from college do so within their first year, resulting in a first-year attrition rate of over 25% at four-year institutions, and roughly 50% at two-year institutions (Cuseo, 2005). Undecided students and first-generation students represent two populations who are at the greatest risk of attrition. Since the 1980s, both populations of students have increasingly become the focus of study in the retention literature, and yet little has been written about the intersection of these two student characteristics. This qualitative, phenomenological study attempts to address this intersectionality by highlighting the experience of decision-making around choice of major among first-year, first-generation, undecided undergraduates at the University of Dayton. Data collected via one-on-one interviews with participants reveal their extrinsic and intrinsic motivations for choosing a particular course of study, how they conceptualize choosing a major based on post-college aspirations, concerns about being undecided, and key figures who helped guide them through the process of choosing a major.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Savio Dennis Franco

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education


Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences

Examining the Experience of Choosing a Major among First-Year, First-Generation, Undecided Undergraduates at the University of Dayton