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Choosing an academic major is one of the first significant decisions college students make. The purpose of this study was to determine how students in the second year of their undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences make a decision about a college major. This study utilized individual interviews with students enrolled at the University of Dayton to explore resources used, information gathered and influences consulted to help determine the decision-making process of these students. Results indicated that family, especially parents, were frequently consulted and had a considerable influence on the choice of major. Students also relied heavily on career considerations as well as self-reflection to determine their own interests and abilities. Most participants expressed that they felt an enormous amount of pressure, both internal and external, to make a decision, and felt a sense of relief once the decision was made. Implications of this study include the necessity for professionals working with undecided students, especially academic and career advisors, to allow those students to discover their own interests and abilities and how they connect with career options. These results can benefit the field of academic and career advising because those professionals can encourage students to think about important decisions they made in the past, to realize they are capable of making good decisions, and to use some of the same methods to choose a major.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Abd El Nasser A Abd El Razek

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education and Human Services


Stander Symposium poster

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: How Undecided, Second Year Students in the College of Arts and Sciences Engage in the Decision Making Process of Choosing a Major