Satisfaction with College Major: A Grounded Theory StudyReport as inadecuate

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NACADA Journal, v35 n2 p5-14 2015

All college students must eventually choose and complete a major. Many switch majors, and some change it multiple times. Despite extensive literature addressing factors that influence students' initial choice of major, few scholars have examined students' experiences after enrollment in a selected major. In this study, we used a grounded theory study to investigate the experiences of 10 college students in their major with an emphasis on factors that influenced their (dis)satisfaction. An emergent theory explains the development of (dis)satisfaction with choice of college major by highlighting factors related to self and career awareness as well as personal reflection. Implications for college academic advisors are shared.

Descriptors: Grounded Theory, Majors (Students), College Students, Student Experience, Performance Factors, Participant Satisfaction, Course Selection (Students), Decision Making, Career Development, Undergraduate Students, Semi Structured Interviews, Student Interests, Ability Identification, Values, Academic Advising, Student Attitudes

National Academic Advising Association. NACADA Executive Office, Kansas State University, 2323 Anderson Avenue Suite 225, Manhattan, KS 66502-2912. Tel: 785-532-5717; Fax: 785-532-7732; e-mail: nacada[at]; Web site:

Author: Milsom, Amy; Coughlin, Julie


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