Choice of Planned Major

At the time of ACT registration, students can select a specific planned major from a list of 294 alternatives. These alternatives can be grouped into 18 planned major areas.

Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Selected a Planned Major Within Planned Major Areas by Gender, 2013

  • The 4 areas of Health Sciences and Technologies; Business; Social Sciences and Law; and Engineering comprise more than half (54%) of all students who selected a planned major.
  • The area of Health Sciences and Technologies is very popular among females, with roughly 1 out of 3 selecting a planned major in this area.
  • Just less than half (46%) of all males selected planned majors in the areas of Engineering; Business; and Health Sciences and Technologies.
Chart showing Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Selected a Planned Major Within Planned Major Areas by Gender, 2013

Graph reads: 9% of female students from the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 selected a planned major in the area of Biological and Physical Sciences.

Planned MajorFemaleMale
Health Sciences and Technologies32%14%
Social Sciences and Law11%8%
Arts: Visual and Performing9%8%
Education9%4%
Business9%15%
Sciences: Biological and Physical9%7%
Health Administration and Assisting6%2%
Community, Family, and Personal Services4%3%
Communications3%2%
Engineering3%17%
English and Foreign Languages2%0.8%
Ag. and Natural Resources Conservation2%3%
Computer Science and Mathematics0.9%6%
Architecture0.9%2%
Philosophy, Religion, and Theology0.4%0.8%
Engineering Technology and Drafting0.3%4%
Area, Ethnic, and Multidisciplinary Studies0.2%0.1%
Repair, Production, and Construction0.1%3%

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


Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Selected a Planned Major Within a Subset of Planned Major Areas by ACT Composite Score, 2013

  • The likelihood of selecting a planned major within a particular planned major area differs by the students’ academic achievement.
  • For example, as ACT Composite score increases, the percentage of students who selected a major in the area of Engineering also increases.
  • The percentage of students who selected a major in the area of Visual and Performing Arts decreases as ACT Composite score increases.
  • Relative to the share of students at either the lower or upper ranges of the score scale, a larger share of students with scores in the middle of the ACT Composite score scale selected a planned major in the area of Health Sciences and Technologies.
Chart showing Percent of ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Selected a Planned Major Within a Subset of Planned Major Areas by ACT
Composite Score, 2013

Graph reads: 27% of the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 with an ACT Composite score in the range of 33–36 selected a planned major in the area of Engineering.

ACT Composite Score RangeArts: Visual and PerformingEngineeringHealth Sciences and Technologies
1–1511%6%21%
16–199%6%25%
20–238%8%26%
24–277%12%24%
28–326%18%20%
33–363%27%15%

Note: Based on 79% of the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who selected a planned major when they registered for the ACT.