Asee peer logo

How Well Do They Match? Does High Confidence in Selection of Major Translate to High Graduation Rates in a Major?

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Tuesday Potpourri

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Norma L Veurink Michigan Technological University

visit author page

Norma Veurink is a Senior Lecturer in the Engineering Fundamentals Department at Michigan Technological University where she teaches introductory engineering courses and a spatial visualization course designed for engineering students with poorly developed spatial visualization skills. Ms. Veurink manages several summer programs that introduce middle and high school students to engineering. She is active in the Engineering Design Graphics Division of ASEE.

visit author page


Justin Foley University of Michigan

visit author page

JM Foley received his PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan in 2014. He was formerly the president of the student chapter of ASEE at the University of Michigan and continues to contribute as a research scientist.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This Research paper analyzes student confidence in selection of an engineering major compared to graduation rates within that major. Universities across the United States use a variety of methods to admit students into an engineering program. Some universities require students to complete one to two years of a general education curriculum before admitting students to an engineering major, while others require all incoming students to declare a specific engineering major at the onset. Many universities also require all engineering students, regardless of major, to take common fundamental first-year engineering courses that often include an exploration of the different engineering disciplines so their students can both gain an appreciation of engineering as a profession and make an informed selection of engineering major. _____ University uses a hybrid system for admitting engineering students, where entering students can declare a specific engineering major or enroll with a General Engineering major and then transfer to the discipline of their choice at any time thereafter. In the fall of 2007, all freshmen engineering students were administered a survey in a first semester fundamental engineering course taken by all engineering majors in which they were asked what their engineering major was (discipline specific) and how confident they were in their choice of major. This paper examines the confidence of first year engineering students in their selection of an engineering major with how well that translates to graduation in a major. This study will lay the groundwork for future studies related to the effectiveness of first year engineering courses in helping students select an engineering major.

Veurink, N. L., & Foley, J. (2017, June), How Well Do They Match? Does High Confidence in Selection of Major Translate to High Graduation Rates in a Major? Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28452

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015