Studies in Higher Education vol:40 issue:10 pages:1919-1946
This study examines the choice of a university major with a special focus on the type of major chosen in the first year and success/failure at the end of this first year, using a sample of 2,284 students in Flanders (Belgium). Extending previous research, the effects of prior subject uptake, occupational interests, prior math and Dutch achievement, gender, SES, academic self-concept and future aspirations on major selection were tested using multinomial regression. In summary, our results showed that prior subject uptake in Grade 12 was the main predictor of the type of university major chosen. Furthermore, a persuasive association between students’ interest pattern and major chosen was observed and different interest patterns between male and female students primarily explained gendered choices. A binary logistic regression model revealed that higher achievement, more math subjects chosen in Grade 12 and a higher SES are important buffers against failure in the first year of university.