Entry 18 The Good, the Moderate, and the Poor of the Best-Fit Major
John Fallon — University of Massachusetts Lowell

A treemap has been used to show the ascension/declension over the beginning of college students’ careers in terms of their selected majors. The top level of Interest-Major Fit Index in this visualization is the high school Interest-Major Fit Index score, with the next layer being freshman year Interest-Major Fit Index, and the final layer being sophomore year Interest-Major Fit Index. These fields are then applied to the number of best-fit majors according to the Interest Inventory provided by ACT, Inc. There are eighteen major categories being represented for each cell block.

The best fit major data has been normalized to account for some majors having a much higher student count. Having the data normalized, shows some interesting trends between the majors in terms of major retention and moving based off of the Interest-Major Fit Index.

It can be seen that Sciences: Biological & Physical has one of the highest rates of retention for majors having a “Good” Interest-Major Fit Index score across all three early years. On the opposite sides of the treemap, it can be seen that Repair, Production, &Construction has the highest amount of students continuing with the major, despite a “Poor” Major-Fit Index score. Area, Eth. & Multidiscp. Studies has the largest amount of students staying with the major with a “Moderate” Interest Major-Fit Index score. Interesting trends can also be found when students move from one spectrum of the Major Fit Index score to another for the following years. Arts: Visual & Performing has the largest amount of students changing over from having an original “Good” Major Fit Index score, to then moving to a “Poor” score. Many other conclusions worthy of follow up analysis can be drawn from this visualization.

John Fallon
Institute for Visualization and Perception Research 
University of Massachusetts Lowell
1 University Avenue, Lowell, MA, 01854