Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2023

Thesis Director

Jon K. Coleman

Thesis Committee Member

Danny Gourley Fischer

Thesis Committee Member

Roberta Y. Kingery


This phenomenological study examined the experiences of formerly undeclared college sophomores as they navigated major selection and how their time perspective influenced their decision-making process. This study applied time perspective theory to the issue of major selection for college students, an undertaking that offers a new perspective on the professional practices of academic advising and career services on college campuses. This study utilized semi-structured interviews of four female-identifying formerly undeclared students. Participant responses revealed that negative future time attitudes and a lack of future orientation can both contribute to behaviors that defer career decision-making. In contrast, professional staff and faculty can help accelerate students’ major selection process by helping them overcome the obstacles they are facing. Variations between participants revealed a difference between students who view major selection as inherently narrowing their potential options for career paths and students who view it as broadening their opportunities within a particular field of study. Student affairs professionals and faculty members who advise students who struggle with major selection can facilitate a temporal zoom-out to help them achieve a balanced time perspective and maximize the information available to them in making their decision.