2018 FYEE Conference

WIP: What's your major? First-year engineering students’ confidence in their major choice

Presented at Technical Session I

In this work-in-progress study, the engineering identities of students enrolled in a first-year engineering (FYE) program were surveyed to investigate whether students identify with engineering (in general or with a specific engineering major) during their first year and how differences in identities impact intent to persist in engineering. Literature suggests a strong engineering identity is linked to student retention and can positively impact a student’s trajectory within an engineering program. To investigate these interactions, a survey was distributed at a large public institution in the southeast at the beginning and end of the Fall semester. Most students reported they had decided on a specific engineering major even in the beginning of their first engineering course. While students are relatively confident in that major choice at the beginning of the year, their confidence increased by the end of the semester. Future work will invite students for interviews to elucidate understanding in how a student’s views of the engineering profession affect their FYE experience and the role the FYE curriculum has in their anticipated engineering major and themselves as engineers.

  1. Ms. Katherine M Ehlert Clemson University [biography]
  2. Dr. Sarah Jane Grigg Clemson University [biography]
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