American journal of sociology 2013

American Sociological Review Review Process: The American Sociological Review ASR continued to receive a large number of high-quality submissions during calendar year From January 1 through December 31,we considered a total of manuscripts submitted to the journal. Of the manuscripts submitted inwere new submissions and were revisions.

American journal of sociology 2013

The Developmental Disconnect in Choosing a Major: Ideally, a major will leave a student academically successful, as well as fulfill academic, personal, and vocational goals. College and university administrators have begun implementing various types of institutional resources to assist undecided students when choosing a major, but all students are likely underprepared when choosing a major.

Therefore, due to the potential positive or negative impact the choice of major can have on the student experience, it is imperative for institutions to delay major choice until the second year, when students are more developmentally ready and educationally prepared to make an effective choice.


When looking at the statistics, it is obvious that choosing a major has serious implications for the majority of students, not just undecided ones.

While these may be valid factors to a degree, the study ultimately implied that students are choosing a major based on influence and assumption rather than through an understanding of their own personal goals and values.

Lastly, the choice of major can have a significant positive or negative effect on the student experience, affecting retention, engagement, student learning, academic standing, setting of academic and career goals, and more. The development of traditional first-year students In contrast with the evidence that first-year students are most likely making uninformed choices when determining a major, the common four-year curriculum path colleges and universities use assumes that students enter college prepared to make a decision regarding major and, ultimately, career path.

Unfortunately, the reality is that students are most likely not developmentally prepared to do so.

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Since they are in the dualistic stage of development, first-year students also need assistance navigating a decision-making process. Since incoming students are both dualistic and in the exploratory process of decision making, they may not yet be developmentally ready to make important life decisions without a structured period of self-reflection, learning, and growth.

When making decisions independently or based on the opinions of those with whom they have a personal relationship, such as family members, students will most likely make an uneducated, unrelated, and ineffective decision not based on their true personal goals, interests, and values.

The disconnect Most students will not be developmentally ready to make effective decisions based on identity and self-reflection, such as choosing a major. Multiplicity signifies the ability to recognize that various options exist when one right answer is not known.

In this stage the student may be ready to narrow their major preferences, but it may not be until even further in development the relativism stage that students can truly begin deciding based on what they know about themselves.

Here the student can begin making progress toward a decision but does not actually make one. For example, the student can effectively begin weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a particular decision, consider other alternatives, and understand some of the consequences of these alternatives.

Clearly, there is a serious disconnect between where traditional freshmen students are developmentally and the level of development needed to make a successful choice in major. Solutions Fortunately, it is not all bad news; there are practical solutions to address this inherent disconnect, including implementing first-year programs, summer programs, career assessments, and exploratory workshops.

Moreover, using positive advising techniques and encouraging changes in campus culture would be effective. Specifically, these enhancements include the use of appreciative advising, which is asking positive, open-ended questions when helping students consider goals, passions, and interests—all of which are vital aspects of major choice Bloom, While these are all realistic options for colleges and universities to implement, they are only short-term solutions and often do not assist decided students who are most likely not developmentally ready or are unprepared to effectively make this decision as well.

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Therefore, truly assisting students make well-informed life choices will require systemic changes in institutional structures and processes. Ultimately, prohibiting major choice until the sophomore year is the most responsible option. To do this, there would need to be a structured course or program during the first year, and a total intake academic advising model should be incorporated in which students in their first year receive advising from an objective, central advising office and it is not until the second year that students will be advised within a specific academic discipline, such as with a faculty adviser King, In the case of Waynesburg University, first-year students can delay the declaration of a major through the Major Decision Program; part of this process includes a Career and Life Planning course, as well as Discover, a computer program that allows students to learn more about possible majors, career paths, and their personal preferences Waynesburg University, n.

American journal of sociology 2013

Conclusions There are many challenges to implementing a system in which students delay major choice until the sophomore year. Funding would be needed to change advising structures, including updated physical environments for institutions in which a total intake advising model is not currently utilized.

Furthermore, it takes time and effort to make even the slightest change in campus culture.

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This is partially due to the fact that administration, faculty, staff, and every department on campus would have to be willing to adapt to an institutional change. Lastly, there is a small possibility that these changes would not apply to all students, who may be developmentally prepared to make the decision before entering college.

Although there are few students statistically in this category, those who do may perceive the first year as a misuse of time. Despite these challenges, school administrators must decide where the priorities are. As shown by the statistics previously mentioned, the current timing of choosing a major negatively affects a majority of students.

It would be difficult to implement such great institutional changes, but not doing so might constitute a disservice to the student body. Furthermore, a structured freshman year that focuses on student exploration and deliberation will provide the student with tools and skills useful for long-term application, including the inevitable job search and other higher-level personal decisions.American Sociological Review.

Review Process: The American Sociological Review (ASR) continued to receive a large number of high-quality submissions during calendar year From January 1 through December 31, , we considered a total of manuscripts submitted to the journal.

American journal of sociology 2013

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