Dominican University of California
 

Presentation or Panel Title

Influences on Students Choice of College Major

Location

Guzman Lecture Hall, Dominican University of California

Start Date

4-20-2017 6:00 PM

End Date

4-20-2017 7:00 PM

Department

Psychology

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor

Ian Madfes, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Every college student must choose a major to graduate; choices differ for a variety of reasons. Certainly, to some degree, the student’s family/cultural background influences this decision. The present research examines the extent to which cultural factors influence choice of major.

Previous research suggests that college major selection may relate to career path, based on skills and interests (Milson 2015). Others suggested that choice of profession is influenced both by family characteristics and values (Kuz’mina 2014); children of wealthier families are more likely to choose a college major that would continue to support their lifestyle; parents with a higher education also predicts the student’s higher education level.

Patterns of major choice vary also by cultures. Dickens (2010) found that that college major choice differs by gender and race for various reasons, principally due to differences in preparation for college work. Past research suggests that the family's ethnicity influences parent preference for a child’s major choices (Kuz’mina 2014). Asian-American families tend to encourage children to lean toward STEM majors. Caucasian, Hispanics/Latino-Americans and African American families are more open to majors also in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. These culturally-dictated parent preferences are all tempered by the degree to which the child has separated an identity from that culture.

Major choice would seem to be governed by the guidance of parents and the degree to which the child is free to follow/move away from those influences. Therefore, it is hypothesized that students who have experienced higher levels of acculturation, (the degree of integration into American pop cultural rather than traditional parent culture) will have a lower influence by their parents when choosing their college major.

Methodology includes online data collection of demographics, parents’ education, cultural history, and measures of influences on major selection and degree of acculturation. Results will be available in April 2017.

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Apr 20th, 6:00 PM Apr 20th, 7:00 PM

Influences on Students Choice of College Major

Guzman Lecture Hall, Dominican University of California

Every college student must choose a major to graduate; choices differ for a variety of reasons. Certainly, to some degree, the student’s family/cultural background influences this decision. The present research examines the extent to which cultural factors influence choice of major.

Previous research suggests that college major selection may relate to career path, based on skills and interests (Milson 2015). Others suggested that choice of profession is influenced both by family characteristics and values (Kuz’mina 2014); children of wealthier families are more likely to choose a college major that would continue to support their lifestyle; parents with a higher education also predicts the student’s higher education level.

Patterns of major choice vary also by cultures. Dickens (2010) found that that college major choice differs by gender and race for various reasons, principally due to differences in preparation for college work. Past research suggests that the family's ethnicity influences parent preference for a child’s major choices (Kuz’mina 2014). Asian-American families tend to encourage children to lean toward STEM majors. Caucasian, Hispanics/Latino-Americans and African American families are more open to majors also in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. These culturally-dictated parent preferences are all tempered by the degree to which the child has separated an identity from that culture.

Major choice would seem to be governed by the guidance of parents and the degree to which the child is free to follow/move away from those influences. Therefore, it is hypothesized that students who have experienced higher levels of acculturation, (the degree of integration into American pop cultural rather than traditional parent culture) will have a lower influence by their parents when choosing their college major.

Methodology includes online data collection of demographics, parents’ education, cultural history, and measures of influences on major selection and degree of acculturation. Results will be available in April 2017.