Entry 5Multi-view Rankings of Student Interests
Karsten Maurer, PhD — Miami University Department of Statistics

As students begin their college careers, they select from a myriad of majors; a choice that is often revisited a number of times prior to graduation. The display above aims to simplify the tangled transitional web for over 235,000 students at three academic time points. The most common progression is to remain within a major over time, but there exists noteworthy alternative pathways where many students collectively abandon one major for another. The dynamic populations are most dramatically manifested in the decline of the two Health related majors and growth in the Community/Family/Personal Services and Physical/Biological Sciences majors.

Students’ interests are surveyed during the ACT to allow for prediction of student fit within each major, however we find that students do not always land within majors that match their interests. By separating and coloring the students within each major by their ACT fit categories we see that certain majors are predominantly comprised of students who are moderate or well fit (e.g. Performance/Visual Arts and Physical/Biological Sciences); whereas others have a low proportion of well fit students at the end of 2 years (e.g. Community/Family/Personal Services). Ideally, we would like to see poorly fit students diverted early and majors becoming increasing comprised for well fit students over time.

Karsten Maurer, PhD
Miami University Department of Statistics
311 Upham Hall, 100 Bishop Circle Oxford, OH 45056 
maurerkt@miamioh.edu