A study exploring the relationship between college majors and future careers
Thompson, George F
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This study explored the relationship between college majors and future careers of college students enrolled in a career development course. The subjects included two hundred thirty-one undergraduate students enrolled across nineteen sections of the same career development course at a large southern Research Extensive university. At the beginning and end of the course, all participants completed the Career Decision Scale (CDS) (Osipow, Carney, Winer, Yanico, & Koschier, 1976), Career Factors Inventory (CFI) (Chartrand, Robbins, Morrill, & Boggs, 1990), and two adapted parallel instruments to measure major decidedness (Thompson, 2003a, and 2003b). These instruments were used for comparison of perceived differences between majors and careers. The posttest design also involved completion of a qualitative questionnaire seeking to understand how students make meaning of majors through a series of open-ended questions (Thompson, 2003c). The study resulted in an in-depth appreciation of the role that college majors play in the lives of students. The results of this study also revealed significant understanding of how students perceive college majors in relation to future careers. Both qualitative and quantitative results offer support for further research on college majors employing various samples outside Research Extensive universities. Implications for retention are discussed in relation to major and career indecision. Suggestions for further research and implications for practice are explored from both a curricular and administrative perspective.