Personality-College Major Match Why it is Important

Girl in a class

First, by choosing a college major that matches your personality you are more likely to,

  • Earn higher grades,
  • Stick with your choice of major through to graduation,
  • Graduate on time, and
  • Be more satisfied and successful in your career.

That’s what major research studies show. It’s common sense really. You do best when doing -- what interests you, and working with professors and students who share your interests, values, and abilities.

It's based on the respected Holland theory of career choice.

According to the studies, the closer students choose a major or career that matches their Holland personality type, the more likely they are to succeed. The farther apart they are, the more likely students will do poorly.

For example, most students with a dominant Investigative personality type will do best in an Investigative major like Engineering or Microbiology, and not do well in an Enterprising major like Accounting.

And, second, choosing a college major is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

A recent government study found that only 36 percent of 4-year college students graduated in four years, 57 percent in six -- about 40 percent dropout.

The cost of dropping out, changing majors, or not graduating on time is high. For example, a recent study showed that students who are working toward a bachelor’s degree lose in earnings, on average, $46,000 (in 2008 dollars) for each additional year it takes to finish their degree. And, this does not include other possible costs like, additional loans to pay off, or the psychological costs.

Research also shows that after graduation, the major you choose affects your future job satisfaction, career opportunities and rewards.

So, unquestionably, choosing a major is one of the most important decisions you will make.

We recommend that you,

  1. Take a scientifically valid interest inventory or career test, like The Career Key®, that measures your Holland personality types;
  2. Use a valid list of majors organized by Holland personality types, like those for Colleges that Match Up and our Match Up! Your Personality to College Majors e-book, to identify those most likely to fit your personality;

    Use similar strategies to choose a “career pathway” or career field;
  3. Read:
  4. Make a good decision using our ACIP decision-making process.