Influences on College Major Choice Essay

6613 Words Apr 5th, 2011 27 Pages
COLLEGE MAJOR CHOICE:
A STUDY OF INFLUENCES ON CHOOSING A MAJOR

Karissa Campbell, Criselle Crisostomo, Darren Moore
Department of Sociology
UCI
Winter 2011

Abstract

This study is an analysis of what factors influence student’s college major choices. Upon following previous scholars, it was noted that gender, race and ethnicity, and one’s family socioeconomic status are all significant factors in college major choice. There are distinguished trends and discriminations of college major and career choices between females and minorities. However, these typical trends vary depending on the student’s socioeconomic status. 35 student interviews of different gender, race, and socioeconomic statuses were then conducted to test to prove
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Previous scholars are concerned with this topic because these trends in major choice by women and minorities ultimately creates differences in earnings within the workforce, which in creates further social class differences (Porter and Umbach 2006).
Gender
Differences in males and females within the workforce are a commonly known social inequality. While the difference in income continues to be a big economic concern, what is less questioned is the sociological reasoning of the problem. Dickson’s study found that gender differences in major choice are sizably larger than racial and ethnic factors (2010).
Stereotypical Occupations According to a study from Gadassi and Gati (2009), occupational perception stereotypes are formed by both boys and girls at a young age. Early on as children, jobs are described to be either “masculine” or “feminine” teaching young boys and girls which occupations are “appropriate” for them to pursue in the future. This ideology, Gadassi and Gati explain, is continuously internalized as children grow up in the socialization process and are later reflected in their own job preferences. An earlier study conducted by Porter and Umbach (2006) reinforces this idea of socialization in traditional gender roles explaining that women tend to choose studies within education, Nursing, and English due to their gender role

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