Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



The COVID-19 pandemic created stress and hardship for many adults attending college. On the other hand, college students have identified their parents as positive influences in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, while friends were viewed in both positive and negative ways. While much is known about the stressors and hardships associated with the pandemic, relatively little is known about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted life choices, especially career goals. Undergraduates were asked to identify factors which influenced their choice of college major. Pre-COVID-19 cohorts were recruited in 2016 and 2017 (N=102), and compared to a 2022 cohort (N = 74), two full years after the start of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Students were sampled from courses in colleges of Education, Social Science, and Nursing. The COVID-19 cohort reported greater positive influence of family members in career decision making (M = 3.55, SD = .76) compared to the pre-COVID-19 cohort (M = 1.37, SD = .96) [t(172) = 16.76, p > .001]. Similarly, the COVID-19 cohort reported greater influences of work experiences on their career goals (M = 3.19, SD = 1.02) compared to the pre-COVID-19 sample (M = .97, SD = 1.14) [t(166) = 13.59, p < .001]. Similar differences between cohorts for declaration of major were observed for community experiences and college-instructor influences. In terms of commitment and changing of majors, the COVID-19 cohort reported fewer changes in major (M = .35, SD = .65) than the pre-COVID-19 cohort (M = .60, SD = .85) [ t(173) = 2.1, p = .015]. The increased influence of family in the COVID-19 cohort is consistent with findings of positive support of parental by college students. Additional comparisons of mentor experiences, college instructor influences will be discussed.

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