The Right Major for Your Student's Personality

How much does a student’s personality affect their choice of major? Turns out it can have a big impact. 

Not only do certain personality types tend to gravitate to the same major, students who choose a major in keeping with their personality do better in school.


Get the Right Fit

According to research by CareerKey, students with a major that fits their personality are more likely to have high grades, stick with their major, graduate on time and be satisfied with their career.

Your student will spend four or more years pursuing her education. If she chooses a major that clashes with her personality type she could end up hating classes, getting poor grades, and eventually changing majors or even dropping out. 

Worse yet, your student could persist in the ill-fitting major only to graduate college and end up in a job they hate. 

Insight From Experts

Psychologist John L Holland wrote Making Vocational Choices, the definitive manual of careers and personality. His central question is: “Are you happy with what you do every day?” He identified six personality types and how they relate to job success and satisfaction. The six categories are:

Realistic – People who need to work with things they can touch and see. They are best with animals, plants, tools and machines.

Investigative – People who relish in scientific and mathematic quests. They excel at analysis, research and problem solving.

Artistic – People who enjoy creative writing, drama, dance, music and other similar crafts. They are easily bored by repetitive and structured tasks.

Social – People who need people. They prefer humans to machines. They are best at counseling, teaching, nursing, leading and solving community problems.

Enterprising – People who search out new opportunities. They find new paths for business and make great salespeople. They are ambitious and energetic.

Conventional – People who like to work in an orderly manner. They work well with numbers, statistics, records and machines. They work well with a regimented plan.

No person is strictly one type. We are each made up of a blend with perhaps one dominant trait. 

What is Your Student's Personality?

Your student can begin understanding how their personality, strengths, interest and abilities interact by taking the test and then building two lists.

On one list write the majors you and your student have considered to be financially rewarding.
On the second list, write some of the majors that fit her personality based on the results of the Majors Matcher quiz

Note what appears on both lists. Make your decision based on what you learn. 

At the end of it all, no academic study or psychological test will tell you what you already know. You know her best and she understands her own mind. Realize, however, the relationship between compatibility and success. She won't be a wealthy Financial Advisor or Anesthesiologist simply by force of will. 

Choosing the best major for your student means taking many factors into account. Personality, natural strengths and interests, future plans and financial goals just to name a few. An easy start is by having them take the 20-minute quiz.