Some 42% of incoming college students say the Coronavirus pandemic has influenced their decision on which major to study. The study, which surveyed 1,250 high school students graduating this spring and are attending college this fall, was conducted by Intelligent, a content site focused on higher education.
Business remained the most popular choice with 16.72% of respondents saying they plan on majoring in the field. The next highest percentage of students (8.80%) reported wanting to major in health professions and related programs.
Intelligent also compared its data to degree data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) from the 2018-2019 academic year. Some study areas like legal professions and studies, engineering technologies, and agriculture and natural resources saw more than 50% increases in interest in Intelligent’s data compared to the older NCES data. Other areas like journalism and communications, public administration and social services, and social sciences and history saw more than 50% drops in interest. Business was in the 0% to 49% decrease in interest category along with engineering, psychology, and health professions and related programs.
INTEREST IN THE FIELD, FUTURE JOB OPPORTUNITY POTENTIAL ARE TWO MOST COMMON FACTORS FOR PICKING MAJOR
Intelligent asked the students what factors are impacting their major decisions and the most common response was that they’re interested in the field (54.88%). Future job opportunities was the next most common factor at 50.72%. Next was earning potential, which 42.16% of respondents said was an important factor in deciding on a major.
The least common factor for choosing a major, at 14.16%, was their parents want them to major in the field. Return on financial investment was the next lowest factor at 16.24%. And at 28%, job security was the next lowest factor for the respondents in picking a major. The other factor respondents had as an option was having a positive impact on society, which received just 34.72% of responses.
Interestingly, most students (41.28%) say they plan on studying in-person and online when they begin college this fall. Some 32.48% say they plan on studying in-person only. And 16% report they will be studying online only.