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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Estelle Lau


The purpose of the study was to provide information on factors influencing the choice of an academic major and demographic characteristics of students enrolled in baccalaureate degree programs administered by home economics units in the California State University system. Specific objectives of the study were: (1) to analyze the relative importance of reasons which influence students' choice of an area of study or major and the sources of information used in the decision process and (2) to compare the students' responses on the basis of area of study, gender, age, ethnicity, enrollment status, and marital status. The majority of the students were single, White, females between the ages of 18 and 24. Approximately 80 percent of the respondents represented three of seven areas of study: food and nutrition, interior design, and textiles/clothing/merchandising. Two-thirds of the students had changed their majors one or more times. The most frequently cited last major was business. Respondents rated the reasons for choosing an area of study "moderate" to "extremely high" in importance; ratings assigned to the information sources were "extremely low importance" to "moderate importance." Statistically significant differences in the mean importance scores were found for students grouped by ethnicity and area of study. However, there was no relationship between the means and the background variables age, marital status, and enrollment status. Students are influenced by a variety of factors when choosing an academic program. More emphasis is placed on personal reasons including interest in the program and personal skills and career-related factors, including preparation for a career and job opportunities, than factors identified as service and experiential. The college catalog is the most important source of information. In general, people are of greater importance as information sources than media items. Recommendations for recruitment strategies include: develop on- and off-campus programs designed to stimulate interest in the home economics areas of study, implement a career development plan, coordinate the academic unit's recruitment plan with the university plan, and intensify public relations activities directed towards the university, public, and professional communities. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)



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