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  • The Impact of Major on the Post-Graduation Plans

    September 14, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A student stands at a crossroads.

    TAGS: student attitudes, surveys, nace insights

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    Major, and to a lesser extent, gender, race/ethnicity, and GPA, had an effect on the post-graduation plans of bachelor’s degree graduates, according to results of NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey.

    Highlights from the survey that illustrate the impact these factors had on post-graduation plans include:

    • The majors most drawn to entering the work force following graduation included computer science, protective services, marketing, finance, engineering technology, engineering, business, communication, and education.
    • Those most interested in pursuing an advanced degree included psychology, physical sciences, biology, social sciences, pre-law, and public administration/social services.
    • The majors most likely to plan on taking time off included foreign language, visual and performing arts, environmental science, and communication.
    • Women were more likely than men to aspire to pursue an advanced degree, while men were more likely to plan to enter the work force.
    • Interest in continuing education was more common among African-Americans than among other ethnic/racial groups. Meanwhile, Hispanic-American graduates were most interested in entering the work force.
    • Not surprisingly, interest in pursuing an advanced degree rose along with GPA; conversely, plans to enter the work force decreased with higher GPAs.

    NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey was conducted February 16 – April 30, 2016; more than 23,000 students at colleges and universities nationwide took part, including 5,600 graduating seniors. The survey report will be available in September.

    Figure 1: Plans after graduation, by gender, race/ethnicity, and GPA

    work force
    time off
    % of respondents
    Gender Men 74.5% 21.1% 4.4% 1,198
    Women 65.9% 26.9% 7.3% 2,964
    Race/Ethnicity African-American 62.3% 32.5% 5.2% 252
    Asian-American 68.1% 22.8% 9.1% 307
    Hispanic-American 70.1% 24.2% 5.7% 401
    White 69.3% 24.4% 6.4% 2,810
    Grade-point average Highest 61.7% 32.3% 6.0% 1,074
    High 65.8% 26.9% 7.2% 1,010
    Middle 70.9% 22.6% 6.5% 1,571
    Low 78.8% 15.3% 6.0% 518
    Source: Class of 2016 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers
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