Undecided Students

Students who were undecided about their planned major made up 15% of all ACT-tested high school graduates.

Distribution of Four-Year and Two-Year College Students Who Were Undecided at Time of ACT Registration by Major Area of Best-Fitting Planned Major and by Major Area of Declared Major

  • The blue bars in the chart provide the distribution of these college students into the 18 major areas by assigning them to the major that offers the best fit given their measured interests. The orange bars provide the actual distribution of these college students into the 18 major areas based on their declared major.
  • A smaller share of college students declared majors in areas such as Education than would have been expected based on assigning students to the major that offers the best fit with their measured interests.
Chart showing Distribution of Four-Year and Two-Year College Students Who Were Undecided at Time of ACT Registration by Major Area of
Best-Fitting Planned Major and by Major Area of Declared Major

Graph reads: Of college students who were undecided about their planned major when they registered for the ACT, 14% of 4-year and 2-year students had an interest profile that is the best fit with a major in the area of Education. However, only 6% of 4-year students and 4% of 2-year students declared a major in this area.

Four-Year College Students
Area of StudyBest-Fitting Planned MajorDeclared Major
Business16%21%
Education14%6%
Commun, Fam., & Personal Svcs13%9%
Health Sci. & Techno.10%10%
Health Admin. & Assisting7%0.4%
Comp. Sci. & Mathematics7%4%
Social Sciences & Law5%11%
Arts: Visual & Performing4%5%
Area, Eth. & Multidiscip. Studies3%0.2%
English & Foreign Lang.3%2%
Communications3%5%
Agric. & Nat. Res. Cons3%2%
Repair, Production, & Construction3%1%
Sciences: Biological & Physical2%11%
Eng. Tech. & Drafting2%1%
Philosophy, Religion, & Theology2%1%
Engineering2%10%
Architecture1%0.4%

Two-Year College Students
Area of StudyBest-Fitting Planned MajorDeclared Major
Business17%18%
Education14%4%
Commun, Fam., & Personal Svcs13%16%
Health Sci. & Techno.7%17%
Health Admin. & Assisting5%4%
Comp. Sci. & Mathematics10%5%
Social Sciences & Law2%4%
Arts: Visual & Performing4%5%
Area, Eth. & Multidiscip. Studies2%0.01%
English & Foreign Lang.2%2%
Communications2%2%
Agric. & Nat. Res. Cons5%2%
Repair, Production, & Construction7%9%
Sciences: Biological & Physical2%4%
Eng. Tech. & Drafting4%6%
Philosophy, Religion, & Theology1%0%
Engineering2%3%
Architecture2%0.1%

Note: Based on 4% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who indicated they were undecided about their planned major when they registered for the ACT, completed the ACT Interest Inventory, and for whom a college major was provided.


Percent of College Students with Good Interest-Major Fit for Declared Major by ACT Composite Score, Level of College Attended, and Planned Major Status

  • At both 4-year and 2-year colleges, students who were undecided about their planned major area were less likely than those who selected a planned major to have good Interest-Major Fit with their declared major.
  • Among 4-year college students who were undecided about their planned major, the Interest-Major Fit for their declared major increases with their ACT Composite score. This same pattern is not evident among 2-year college students who were undecided about their planned major.
Chart showing Percent of College Students with Good Interest-Major Fit for Declared Major by ACT Composite Score, Level of College Attended, and Planned Major Status

Graph reads: 18% of 4-year college students and 24% of 2-year college students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 who were undecided about their planned major declared a major that is a good fit with their interests.

ACT Composite
Score Range
Planned Major Status2-Year College4-Year College
1–15Selected a Planned Major26%25%
1–15Undecided about Planned Major24%18%
16–19Selected a Planned Major30%31%
16–19Undecided about Planned Major26%25%
20–23Selected a Planned Major33%36%
20–23Undecided about Planned Major27%27%
24–27Selected a Planned Major35%40%
24–27Undecided about Planned Major28%30%
28–32Selected a Planned Major35%42%
28–32Undecided about Planned Major27%32%
33–36Selected a Planned Major45%
33–36Undecided about Planned Major33%

Note: Based on 31% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who either selected a planned major or indicated they were undecided when they registered for the ACT, completed the ACT Interest Inventory, and for whom a college major was provided. Percentage not provided when sample size is less than 50.