Personality correlates of decidedness in the choice of a major career field.
AuthorGedney, Nancy Victoria
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to provide research into the relationship between level of decidedness and development in college freshmen. Through discriminant function analysis variables were identified that can be used in the classification of college students into three levels of decidedness: undecided, tentatively decided and decided. These levels of decidedness are constructs that have been defined by this study in such a way that classification of students is correct 70.58% of the time. The aim of the study was not classification, but increased understanding into the nature of students' developmental processes in relationship to their having chosen or not chosen an academic major. During summer orientation at a major university students were given assessment instruments that measured level of major and career decidedness and level of development. Results indicated that decided students had a stronger sense of their own interests, skills and abilities, were more likely to have goals and purpose, and were able to manage and plan their lives with greater facility than either tentatively decided or undecided students. Undecided students know little about majors or careers and were not particularly motivated to seek information or begin a career planning process. No significant differences were found between levels of decidedness on high school achievement or demographic variables. Significant differences between male and female subjects were found in a large number of variables. Several conclusions are drawn from this study. First, an essential consideration in moving a student toward decidedness in major or career choice is the student's level of development as expressed by the completion of certain developmental tasks. Secondly, the relationship shown in this study between decidedness and development strongly suggests a relationship between development and retention. Thirdly, self-reported level of decidedness is not a reliable indicator of the degree to which a student has completed important developmental tasks. Therefore, undecided students should not be assumed to be underdeveloped; neither should decided students be assumed to be developmentally mature. Finally, the most significant conclusion of this study is the unquestionable necessity of working within the context of student development when "educating" college freshmen.