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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Senior year of high school is the time to choose a college to attend and a major to study — but about a third of incoming freshmen are picking subjects they aren’t really interested in, according to a recently released report from the ACT.

The report, which was based off responses given by students taking the ACT, stated 32 percent of students selected a major that was a “poor fit” with their interests.

Thirty-six percent chose a major aligned with their interests, and as the composite ACT score increased, so did the percentage of students who designated majors that were a “good fit.”

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Heather White, director of UF’s Career Resource Center, said a number of influences can sway students from studying a subject they are truly interested in. The past decade of economic recession and parental pressure to pick a well-paying career are strong factors for any students’ decision.

“What we try to emphasize at the CRC is that major does not equal career,” White said.

She said students should take advantage of all the resources available to them, whether that means CRC personnel, academic advisers or older students.

“I think it’s important to choose something you’re interested in and you want to learn about,” she said.

She said students should take into account their long-term goals, whether that is going into a field they are excited about or just making money.

Kenneth Fernandez, an 18-year-old UF freshman whose major is still undecided, said he has been playing violin for 10 years and would take a job as a musician if it paid well.

But he decided on balancing his passions with practicality and plans to major in chemical engineering.

“I wouldn’t say follow your heart — that’s too cliche,” he said. “Just pick what you like and what works.”

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A version of this story ran on page 8 on 11/20/2013 under the headline "Students choose not to study interests"

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