College Retention, Completion, Graduation

Personality College Major Match

Download our free eBook for professionals, Personality-College Major Match and Student Success

Significantly increasing college graduation rates is only possible when state and national policymakers consider increasing the number of students who choose a major that fits their personality.

Major studies show that a close personality-major match predicts college and job success. These colleges and universities using our new "College Major Match" service are taking advantage of this research right now. But some states and the federal government have made this match more difficult. And, those recommending policies to increase college graduation rates show appear unaware of this research and its importance.

What is “Personality-Major Match”?

It is the degree to which students’ interests and personality match,

  • What they are doing in their major, and
  • The personality of the students and faculty in their major.

Why is it important?

  1. This match affects how students’ feel and act:
    People do best in school and work when they are doing what interests them, and are around people who have similar interests, skills, and values.

    There is a large body of scientific research that supports this.
  2. Major studies show that, the more students choose a college major compatible with their “Holland personality type”, the more likely they are to:
    • Earn higher grades,
    • Stick with their choice of major through graduation,
    • Graduate on time, and<
    • Be more satisfied and successful in their career.
  3. A significant number of students choose a major that is not “compatible” with their personality. They find themselves studying topics that do not fit their interests or skills, and in a college major environment of students and faculty who have different interests, skills, and values. Their grades and chances of graduation suffer. Those who do graduate are less likely to be satisfied or successful in their career.

Some School, College, and Government Actions Make A Good Match More Difficult to Achieve

Invalid career tests are widely used which,

  • Give students incorrect information about their interests and personality, and
  • Misdirect them toward incompatible programs of study and majors that do not fit their personality.

Policy Papers on College Completion Silent on Personality-Major Match

“Personality-major match” has a significant impact on retention and graduation rate. It needs to be part of the national conversation, if efforts to increase college completion are to succeed. The research is compelling.

The Research

Personality-major research is relatively recent and unknown. It was done primarily by scientists associated with ACT over the past ten years and has been published in technically-challenging, peer-reviewed scientific journals. It is based on the respected Holland Theory of Career Choice.

Career Key author, Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, NCC has summarized the research and how to take advantage of it in two free eBooks. Please download and share them with others:

For Professionals: Personality-College Major Match and Student Success

For Students, Parents: Choosing a College Major Based on Your Personality