A longitudinal examination of the relationship between interest-major congruence and the academic persistence, satisfaction, and achievement of undergraduate students
Using a sample of 931 undergraduate students, the current study examined the influential factors on undergraduate students' academic performance, satisfaction, and intentions to persist in their enrolled major. Specifically, the current study investigated the salience of interest-major match in predicting academic success. Interest-major match has been found to be one of the most influential determinants of academic and occupational success. However, support for this relationship has been equivocal and modest at best. The present study was designed to improve upon the current understanding of this relation by examining the moderating effect of gender and employing a longitudinal design to investigate the reciprocal relation between interest-major match and academic outcomes. Correlational results suggested that women reported greater interest-major match and results of the path analyses demonstrated a moderating effect of gender. Although a reciprocal relation was not supported, the findings indicated that a student’s level of academic satisfaction may influence the degree of fit between his or her interest and academic major. The results also highlight the tendency for students further along in their academic tenure to persist to graduation despite poor fit. Implications for educators and administrators are discussed.