Where Students Get Advice in Picking a Major

September 25, 2017

Gallup and Strada, the former USA Funds, today released the latest installment of their three-year survey project, which seeks to gauge American adults' opinions on higher education and its relationship to careers.

The first release from the survey revealed that half of respondents would change at least one of these three decisions about attending college if they could do it all over again: the type of degree they pursued, their choice of major or their choice of institution. The new release builds on those findings by asking roughly 23,000 adults who attended a community college or four-year institution about the source and helpfulness of the advice they received about what to study in college.

Work-based sources of information were rated as the most helpful in choosing a major (83 percent of respondents gave good marks to these sources). However, just one in five of those surveyed received any employment-based guidance.

The survey identified some gaps in information for first-generation and minority students. For example, just 47 percent of respondents whose parents completed a high school diploma or less received advice from their informal social network of family and friends, compared to a majority of those with a parent who earned a bachelor’s degree (60 percent) or graduate degree (65 percent).

Although just 6 percent of respondents reported seeking advice about their major online, the survey found that the use of online tools was almost twice as likely among more recent college attendees.

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