Choice of Major

Topics: University, Education, Student Pages: 4 (1358 words) Published: January 3, 2012
Timon Igeria
"There is, perhaps, no college decision that is more thought-provoking, gut wrenching and rest-of-your life oriented--or disoriented--than the choice of a major." (St. John, 2000, p.22) The impact of a wrong or right choice transcends beyond the learning satisfaction because it is correlated with job stability and job satisfaction. One would expect a scholar to choose a university program through extensive research, cognitive decision making and employment of heuristics (pike 200) but unfortunately anecdotal evidence has showed this is not the case. Most students employ tactics of indecision as opposed to cognitive decision making and many times end up in the wrong program (Beggs ,Banthon, Taylor 2008). It is not surprising then that Roese and Summerville (2005) cite meta-analytical evidence that the most frequently identified life regret for Americans involve their educational choices. The problem is not only confined to America but also to Kenya and the rest of the world. Pressure to choose a particular program in university may be intrinsic or extrinsic .One of the most salient reasons why university scholars chose the wrong program is because of prestige which manifests itself in multifarious ways. Prestige is the respect and admiration that something or somebody has because of the social status or that which is admired and respected because it looks expensive and important. Which role does prestige play in the selection of wrong university majors? How does this lead to underachievement? Effect of prestige on the choice of college program

Before classifying most of the choices made by students on their university programs as “wrong”, it is only fair that we elucidate on which parameters we are using to do so. The distinction between a right and wrong program can be explained using Holland’s theory (Holland,...

References: 1. British Educational Research Journal published by Taylor& Francis Limited, Vol 33, No2 Apr 2007
2. Reasearch in Higher Education Vol 47, No7 (Nov, 2006) pp801-822 published by springs.
3. College Student Journal, June 2008,Distinguishing the Factors Influencing College Student Choice of Major Jeri Mullins Beggs, John H Banthon, Steven Taylor (
4. Tapscott, D. (1998). Growing up digital: The rise of the net generation. New York: McGraw-Hill.
5. Roese, N. J., & Summerville, A. (2005). What we regret most ... and why. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31 (9, September), 1273-85.
6. Smart, J. C, and Feldman, K. A. (1998). "Accentuation effects" of dissimilar academic departments: An application and exploration of Holland 's theory. Research in Higher Education 39: 385-418.
7. Howard, J. A. (2005). Why should we care about student expectations? In: Miller, T. E., Bender, B. E., and Schuh, J. H. & Associates (eds.), Promoting Reasonable Expectations: Aligning Student and Institutional Views of the College Experience Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, pp. 10-33.
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