Certainty of Planned Major Choice

When students select a planned major, they can also indicate the extent to which they are sure of their choice (i.e., very sure, fairly sure, or not sure).

Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by ACT Composite Score and Gender, 2013

  • Among students who selected a planned major, 41% indicated that they were very sure of their choice, whereas 45% were fairly sure, and 15% were not sure.
  • For both females and males, as ACT Composite score increases, the percentage of students who were very sure of their planned major choice decreases.
  • The gender gap in the percentage of students who were very sure of their planned major choice diminishes as ACT Composite score increases.
Chart showing Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by ACT Composite Score and Gender, 2013

Graph reads: 31% of males from the ACT-tested graduating class of 2013 with an ACT Composite score in the range of 24–27 indicated that they were very sure of their planned major choice.

ACT Composite
Score Range
FemaleMale
1–1556%48%
16–1950%41%
20–2343%35%
24–2737%31%
28–3231%29%
33–3625%25%

Note: Based on 79% of the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported gender, selected a planned major when they registered for the ACT, and indicated their level of certainty of their choice of planned major.


Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by Parent Education Level and Gender, 2013

  • As parent education level increases, the percentage of students who were very sure of their planned major choice decreases.
  • Within each parent education level, a greater percentage of females than males were very sure of their planned major choice.
Chart showing Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by Parent Education Level and Gender, 2013

Graph reads: 36% of females from the ACT-tested graduating class of 2013 whose parents earned a graduate degree indicated that they were very sure of their planned major choice.

Parent Education LevelFemaleMale
No College51%45%
Some College50%41%
Bachelor’s Degree40%34%
Graduate Degree36%30%

Note: Based on 69% of the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported gender and parent education level, selected a planned major when they registered for the ACT, and indicated their level of certainty of their choice of planned major.


Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by Degree Plans and Gender, 2013

  • Compared to students who planned to earn a bachelor’s or graduate degree, a larger percentage of those students who planned to earn an associate’s degree or undergraduate certificate were very sure of their planned major choice.
  • Among students in each type of degree plan, a greater percentage of females than males were very sure of their planned major choice.
Chart showing Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by Degree Plans and Gender, 2013

Graph reads: 35% of males from the ACT-tested graduating class of 2013 who planned to earn a bachelor’s degree indicated that they were very sure of their planned major choice.

Degree PlansFemaleMale
Less than Bachelor’s Degree52%45%
Bachelor’s Degree43%35%
Graduate Degree45%38%

Note: Based on 73% of the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported gender and degree plans, selected a planned major when they registered for the ACT, and indicated their level of certainty of their planned major.


Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by Planned Major Area and Gender, 2013

  • The percentage of students who were very sure of their planned major choice varies considerably by their planned major area.
  • More than half of all female students who selected a planned major in the areas of Repair, Production, and Construction; or Health Sciences and Technologies were very sure of their planned major choice.
  • 50% or more of male students who selected a planned major in the areas of Visual and Performing Arts; or Community, Family, and Personal Services were very sure of their planned major.
Chart showing Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Were Very Sure of Their Planned Major Choice by Planned Major Area and Gender, 2013

Graph reads: 30% of females from the ACT-tested graduating class of 2013 who selected a planned major in the area of Engineering indicated that they were very sure of their planned major choice.

Planned MajorFemaleMale
Repair, Production, and Construction53%48%
Health Sciences and Technologies52%43%
Arts: Visual and Performing47%50%
Community, Family, and Personal Services47%51%
Health Administration and Assisting47%38%
Education45%38%
Ag. and Natural Resources Conservation44%34%
Social Sciences and Law43%38%
Philosophy, Religion, and Theology37%45%
Architecture35%36%
English and Foreign Languages35%34%
Sciences: Biological and Physical35%31%
Engineering Technology and Drafting34%37%
Communications32%33%
Computer Science and Mathematics32%38%
Business31%26%
Engineering30%32%
Area, Ethnic, and Multidisciplinary Studies23%28%

Note: Based on 79% of the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported gender, selected a planned major when they registered for the ACT, and indicated their level of certainty of their planned major.