Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dena R. Kniess


College students are influenced by many different things the moment they arrive on campus. This study was an exploratory study that examined what factors influenced student major selection at a rural Midwestern community college. Qualitative interviews were conducted with (N = 6) sophomore level participants that were previously undecided but had since declared a major. Participants were asked a series of questions about their major selection process including their experiences as an undecided student, who, and what may have influenced their major selection, what role monetary returns played in their major selection, and how comfortable they are with their current major.

The results suggested that the majority of participants felt pressure to declare a major, and that interest in major was the most influential factor. Students were also influenced by many different people including faculty members, friends, and family members. Overall the participants had done some type of research before selecting their major and they were not largely influenced by monetary returns.