Stability of College Students' Fit with Their Academic Major and the Relationship Between Academic Fit and Occupational Fit
Beier, Margaret E.
Doctor of Philosophy
This study examines the fit between students’ interests and their academic choices at different stages of their college careers. Using image theory (Beach, 1990) as an integrated theory of person-vocation fit, this investigation focuses on the stability of academic fit during college and the relationship between fit with academic choice and fit with occupational choice. Participants, 257 students in their final year at Rice University, responded to questions about their interests as well as factors that may influence their career choices, such as parental support, work centrality, career efficacy, and employment potential. Results showed that students tend to improve their fit with their academic major during their first four semesters. And, students tend to maintain or improve their fit when they select their first occupation after college. Of the factors considered to influence career choices, work centrality, or the importance one places on work, moderated the relationship between academic and occupational fit.