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Study shows 42 percent of incoming college freshmen say the pandemic influenced their choice in major

Posted at 5:37 AM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 07:26:11-04

MILWAUKEE -- The pandemic is affecting our college freshmen's choice of major.

Statistics builder Intelligent surveyed more than 1,200 incoming college freshmen. Eleven of them were from Wisconsin.

The survey shows 42-percent of incoming freshmen said the pandemic did influence their choice of major. More students are wanting to pursue the legal area, as well as cultural and gender studies.

Less are likely to go into a health profession. Instead, more are leaning at social work or administrative roles.

We shared the results with 21-year-old Katherine Flight who says she was not surprised.

"I think the pandemic has allowed people to think about the world around them, and all the things that are going wrong, and consider their impact and make that change too," said Flight.

Flight added, "The pandemic really solidified my decision to keep going."

Admissions consultant Beata Williams is an active contributor for Intelligent surveys.

"I’m not surprised with those findings," she said adding, "They’re more socially conscious - this generation of students is definitely more socially conscious than Generation X was."

Flight said she sees the next generation feeling the impact of climate change and racial equity.

While universities like Marquette may be ahead of the curve, Williams believes colleges across our state and country should take notice of these results to stay relevant.

Williams shared the options a freshman can explore, "You could do a criminology degree you could do political science, probably do something in finance, and help your organization make money."

For Flight, she is looking at law school. Her advice to incoming freshmen, "Just go for it - see what happens put yourself out there!"

Going In-Depth:
We narrowed down the answers in the Intelligent Poll by income level. We compared the answers from students with a household income of less than $25,000 with students who had a household income of $150,000 or more.

Both were nearly equal with their number one choice in college major, which was business.

Their second choice in major was different. Computer sciences was the second most popular major for the wealthiest students in this study. Meanwhile, the least wealthy surveyed stuck with health.

Click here to view the entire survey results.

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