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4 takeaways from the ACT study on planned majors

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  November 11, 2013 10:25 AM

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A recent study by the ACT found that high school students need -- and want -- more help planning for college and careers.

"College Choice Report Part 1" compared students' reported planned majors with their academic interests. It also surveyed their preparedness to make such decisions.

“It’s important for students to have the information they need to make the best decisions about their future,” said Jon Erickson, ACT president of education and career solutions, in a statement. “They should be made aware that choosing a college major that reflects their interests will give them a better chance of succeeding and could also contribute to their satisfaction and happiness in school and on the job.”

Here are four key points from the study:

  • While 79 percent of study respondents indicated a planned major, only 36 percent of them chose a major that was a "good fit" based on their interests. Conversely, 32 percent of students chose a "poor fit" for a planned major.
  • Many students noted uncertainty in choosing a major, with 45 percent of respondents saying they were "fairly sure" and 15 percent "not sure" of their decision.
  • The majority (62 percent) of students said they needed assistance with their academic plans, regardless of whether they indicated a planned major.
  • About 50 percent of students said the availability of a college major was the most important factor in selecting a college.

Data used in the study was collected from the ACT Interest Inventory, which students complete when registering for the exam. More than half (54 percent) of the high school graduating class of 2013 nationwide took the ACT.

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