Low graduation rates are a national issue. As President Obama said recently, “We have been slipping. In a single generation, we’ve fallen from first place to 12th place in college graduation rates for young adults. ”
College success is likely a major issue for you, “How can we help students do better?”
Recent research suggests an important answer: increase the number of students choosing a college major that matches their interests or personality – a relatively low-cost and easily implemented solution.
The research is summarized by Career Key author, Dr. Lawrence K. Jones in Choosing a College Major Based on Your Personality: What does the research say? (a free 29-page e-book download). (Google a study’s title in quotation marks for more details).
It describes the theory on which the research is based (John Holland’s) and answers the question, “Why does matching your personality to college majors affect college success?” There are practical tips for students, adults returning to school, and parents – as well as college administrators and education policymakers.
The primary question, “How well are students and adults helped to match their interests and personality to courses, career pathways, training programs, and college majors?”
One factor to consider is that invalid career tests are widely used on commercial, school, college, state, and federal government websites and, as a consequence, many students and adults are seriously misdirected to occupations, career pathways, and college majors -- ones that do not fit their interests or personality. This is likely one reason for the declining college graduation rate.
As most recognize, it’s “common sense”, that the more you are interested in a school subject, career pathway, college major, or training program – the more time you will spend on it, the better grades you will get, and the sooner you will graduate.
And, now, research shows that the degree to which students’ interests and personality match their major predicts how grades earned, persistence, and timely graduation. Of course, other factors are important, too, but “doing what interests you” is vital.
High-impact solutions should be comparatively low-cost and straight-forward: building or strengthening programs from the 8th grade up that help students and adults returning to school identify programs of study and majors that fit their personality.
There are two basic ingredients: a scientifically valid measure of Holland’s RIASEC personality types and a list of instructional programs and majors organized in a scientifically sound manner according to the Holland types.
Career Key’s career test meets the needs of many. It is brief and scientifically valid. It has been widely used since 1997.
And, Match Up! is a unique and powerful tool. It is based on the latest revision (2010) of the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs, the list of all college majors and programs of study found in all colleges in the U.S. and Canada. It required more than a year of research and analysis. The rationale for the system used to classify the majors is fully described.
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