Student decision-making study

Categories: DecisionsEducation


Every graduating high school students are challenged with the problem of having to decide on future career paths. Throughout certain points in the school year, it is not surprising to see masses of them trooping to various university campuses for the purpose of taking their entrance exams. After all, that is a major step in being able to attend the college of their choice. The most difficult decisions for them to make are the choice of college institutions to attend, and also what course program to take.

For students who see themselves attending in a university, the assessment process perhaps undertakes high priority especially nowadays that the higher education has transformed in many ways. Choosing a course carefully is an important aspect which will give conclusion to a student’s academic endeavor.

Recently, the Department of Education (DepEd) implemented career guidance for high school students in public secondary schools nationwide to help them get ready for higher education after graduation.

Using this study, the researchers aims to determine how helpful the career pathing and guidance programs for students in deciding on course program they would take.

The researchers have decided to make a study about the factors that graduating high school students consider in choosing a career. We will be providing information that will cover various factors such as: having better job opportunities, pursuing your passion, etc. We believe that this research will help students and parents alike in choosing a course. Also, the researchers would like to present it to colleges and universities in order for them to promote their education based on the preferences of high school graduates.

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Background of the Study

Many of the youth today are confused and uncertain as to what path they should follow after their high school days. During the 1960’s and even today, people who graduated college found more job opportunities available to them than those who had a lower form of education. We believe that students who graduate college with the course suited for them will even have a higher percentage of getting a job.

Almost all high school graduates go through a hard time in trying to single out a course that will be an influential factor of what they will be in the near future. Due to the number of courses today, graduating high school students may find themselves in a difficult situation. We understand how important it is to pick the right course since different people have a different set of skills.

This research provides further analysis on influential factors that the students consider in deciding what course to take. For this purpose, the researchers worked on a study to understand high school students’ choices by selecting the graduating students of Immaculate Conception Academy – West Campus to see the insights and perception of students coming from a private sector.

Theoretical Framework

Many studies on student decision-making use economic and sociologic theoretical frameworks to examine factors of college choice. These frameworks have been used to develop three theoretical, conceptual approaches to modeling college choice: (a) economic models, (b) status-attainment models, and (c) combined models.

First, the economic models focus on the econometric expectations that prospective high school students think rationally and make careful cost-benefit analyses when choosing a college course or university. Second, the status-attainment models assume a practical decision-making process that students go through in choosing a college, specifying a variety of social and individual factors leading to occupational and educational aspirations. Third, the combined models incorporate the rational assumptions in the economic models and components of the status attainment models. Most combined models divide the student decision-making process into three phases: aspirations development and alternative evaluation; options consideration; and evaluation of the remaining options and final decision. (Hearn, 1984; Jackson, 1978; Tierney, 1983; Somers, Haines, & Keene; 2006)

Conceptual Framework

Chapman’s (1981) three-stage model of student college choice proposes that, to understand a student’s choice, it is essential to consider both background and current characteristics, the student’s family, and the characteristics of the college (Chapman, 1981).

Components of the model are identified as either student characteristics or external influences, such as the influence of significant persons, the fixed characteristics of the institution, and the institutions’ own efforts to communicate with prospective students. These factors combined with the student’s general expectation of college life determine the final choice.

Figure 1. Three-stage model of student college course and university choice (Chapman, 1981)

Statements of the Problem

The problem of choosing a career among high school students has generated a lot of questions and answers. The problem has been a delicate issue that has to be approached with caution. There is no clear process that they have used to make career choice. High school students should have the opportunity to explore all of the choices available in order to make a reasonable educated plan when choosing a course. This study investigated and assessed the motivational factors affecting a student’s choice of career. The following articulate the specific research questions that will be investigated:

  1. What constitutes the choice of a graduating high school student in deciding what course to take in college?
  2. How do the social and physical decision environments affect their decision-making?
  3. Which motivational factors describe a positive or negative choice preference towards their decision?
  4. What is the relative contribution of each factor to a particular choice preference?
  5. What are the strategies this study will contribute to college institutions in promoting the presentation of its resources to encourage graduating high school students to enroll?


The study was based on several hypotheses including the following: 1. That there are factors that can affect the choosing capability of the student in deciding what career to take. 2. That at any level of endeavors, students have taken the issue of career choice to be one of the most important facts determining the quality of life. 3. When answering the survey questionnaire, students will give honest answers.

Scope and Delimitation

This study is delimited to students enrolled in Immaculate Concepcion Academy – West Campus of Dasmariñas City, Cavite, academic year 2013-2014. Only eighty (80) students will be involved in the study consists of two (2) sections of the fourth level. A further limitation of the study is that results are valid only at the time of the research and within the restrictions as described in this study. Generalizing to students in other Immaculate Conception Academy campuses or situations should be made with caution.

Significance of the Study

The researchers believe that identifying the factors that influence students in choosing career can be helpful for the following: Students. This research can help graduating high school students in exploring real career possibilities before and after finishing high school. School Administrators. High school administrators and class advisers involved with students making this decision may gain greater insight into the process as a result of this study. Also, the study will be useful for college administrators to consider the management and presentation of its resources to the market place of current and future students. This will also be beneficial in developing promotions that college recruiters can use to encourage potential students. Parents. Parental involvement generally provides guidance and financial assistance. The results of this study may help parents to understand the process, the factors involved, and the contribution which they make.

Definition of Terms

For clarity, the terms used in the study were clarified as follows: Career choice – In this research, the career choice and college course has a mutual meaning. It refers to the vocation or profession the respondents are planning to take. Environment – The complex physical factors that make up our surroundings and in turn act upon us. This include the forces of family, political, social and economic issues that students may deal with on a day- to- day basis. Motivation – Forces acting on or within a person causing initiation of behavior or what it is that moves a person. Educational Attainment – it is the highest level of education that a person has attended and successfully completed. In the study, this was categorized into: high school graduates and college graduates. Students – Refers to those individual who are officially admitted and registered in school, in this study, they are stated as the mass of Immaculate Conception Academy-West Campus of Dasmariñas City, Cavite.

Socio-economic status – The position of an individual on social economic scale that measure such factors as education, monthly family income, type of occupation, and place of residence. Department of Education (DepEd) – is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for ensuring access to, promoting equity in, and improving the quality of basic education. It is the main agency tasked to manage and govern the Philippine system of basic education. Commission of Higher Education (CHEd) – is attached to the Office of the President for administrative purposes. It covers both public and private higher education institutions as well as degree-granting programs in all post-secondary educational institutions in the country. Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA) Dasmariñas – is a private, nonsectarian educational institution in Dasmariñas, Cavite, Philippines that are stated to be the respondents of this study.

Review of Related Literature

Related Literature

A comprehensive discussion of related literature is important to understand the process of choosing a career and the various factors influencing this decision. In this chapter, it is divided into two sections, foreign and local literature. Proposed models of college choice, as well as influential factors, are addressed. Under the foreign literature, Super’s theory on vocational development which is a general theory was used as a baseline under which many other related theories fall. The local literature section, on the other hand, deals with local empirical studies regarding the career preferences, career choices, and the factors influencing them. A synthesis and the relevance of this chapter will follow at the end of the chapter.

Foreign Literature

According to the wide variety of research presented, most theorists agreed that there were many factors that enter into the selection of a career. The choices a person makes, the values a person holds, the successes and failures a person experiences, the social class in which a person has developed, and the interests, strengths, and capacities of the person all enter into this decision. In other words, career aspiration is a product of heredity and environment, and the person’s self-concept was vitally important in that decision (Herr, 1970; Hewer, 1963; Super, 1957). The choice of a career is, therefore, not merely a decision of a moment: it is a complex and difficult process that spans a number of years (Ginzberg, Axelrad, & Herma, 1951), if not a lifetime. There are numerous theories that explain how and why people choose one career alternative instead of another. Theories have cited the importance of one factor or group of factors as determinants of career choice.

Others have argued for the total picture instead of certain specific traits of a person. Some believe that a career choice is influenced by internal factors within the individual while others emphasize the external factors in the environment, while other’s a combination of both. One theory that gives a total picture of the process of career choice is Super’s Theory of Vocational Development. Super (1957) emphasizes that vocational choice is a process, rather than an event and he describes vocational development as: “An ongoing, continuous generally irreversible, orderly, patterned and dynamic process, which involves the interaction between the individual’s repertoire and the demands made by society…” He further suggests three types of factors that play a major part on vocational behavior and adjustment. These are role factors, personal factors and situational factors it could be noted that the personal factors coincide with the Intra-psychic approach in psychology while role and situational factors with the Social/Behavioral approach. What follows is a more detailed explanation of the vocational choice as a continuous process, with Ginsberg taking a closer look at it. Then the discussion that follows this will be further divided into personal, situational, and role factors for a clearer picture of the theory.

Super emphasizes that the vocational choices and adjustment is a continuous process which may be summed up in a series of life-stages characterized as those of growth, exploration, maintenance, and decline. These stages may in turn be subdivided into (a) fantasy, tentative and realistic phases of the exploratory stages, and (b) the trial and stable phases of the establishment stage. This process begins during childhood. For the young child, the chosen occupation is often one which is identified with adults. Stated preferences may be the child’s identification with that part of the adult world which he sees as most pleasurable.

As the child development a greater degree of individuality and as a growing awareness of the self evolves, his interests, capacities and values begin to influence preferences. At a later stage, the need to face reality of the occupational world and to find a place therein, may significantly influence choice. Ginzberg (1961) takes a closer look at the life stages which consists of three propositions about the developmental nature of vocational choice. First, he pointed out that it is a process which spans the entire period adolescence, from approximately age ten to twenty-one.

Personal Factors

As super (1957) has noted, people differ in abilities, interest, and personalities and by virtue of those occupations. Each of these occupation require a characteristic pattern of the said ability, interest, and personality traits, with tolerance with enough over, to allow both some variety of individuals in each occupation. In relation to this is the trait and factor theory of Parson (1909). This theory is based upon the psychology of individual differences which emphasizes the relationship of an individual’s personal characteristics such as aptitudes, interests, and personality traits to traits required by the job. In short the individual compares his capability and disposition with those demanded by occupations and selects the one he “matches” best with.

Situational Factors

Super (1957) also states that one’s parental socio-economic level with the opportunities to which one is exposed to are also determinants of the nature of career patterns. The career choice is greatly influenced by the experience an individual undergoes. He is a produce of his environment, his inherent aptitudes and his make-up as a whole. The extent to which his inherent potential is developed and explored is largely determined by his family because in his formative years, the family is one of the most important environmental influences. Being the primary agent of socialization and determinant of one is existence. In the occupational sphere, the family is an important factor in the aspirations, expectations and opportunities of the individual. It will determine his social class, financial resources and attitude toward work (Osipow, 1968).

Parents serve as significant interpreters for children of information about the world and children’s abilities (Hall, Kelly, Hansen, and Gutwein 1996). Researchers have studied the influence of parents and the family on children’s career choice and development. Much of this research has demonstrated links between career development and such factors as socioeconomic status, parents’ educational and occupational attainment, and cultural background. Moreover, in relation to parental socio-economic status, Rosenberg (1957, cited in Crites, 1969) who made a study on the relationship of parental class and student career expectations found that the father’s income seemed to be highly related to the kinds of choices the students made. He also found out that the future earnings expected by the students correlated very highly with the father’s income level. Family income, thus, seems to exert a major influence on student expectations of income opportunities, and specific choices. As a consequence of this, children from low income families tend to develop modest levels of aspirations with respect to their career choices, thus creating a major limitation.

Role Factors

Super (1957) also points out the development of one’s self-concept, the compromise between this self-concept and reality, and the life satisfactions one derives from this compromise in the process of vocational choice.

Difficulty of the Course Selection Process

Selection of the ‘right’ course may be described as a high involvement, high risk decision-making situation because the increasing effect of the series of choices students make each semester/quarter may impact their career selection, as well as their career direction and future employment opportunities. There are additional of factors that students may consider in their course selection decisions as they choose between competing and attractive course alternatives, including perceptions about a course’s workload, and the usefulness of the knowledge gained in the course. According to Babad, Darley and Kaplowitz (1999): “In course selection, not one, but multiple, sequential and interdependent decisions must be made concurrently. The projected utilities are sometimes contradictory . . . and different courses are selected with different objectives in mind” (p. 157).

Local Literature

A survey of related studies indicated that many past researches have been done with regard to career choices, occupational values, career preferences and the many factors related to them. It should be noted that the earliest of these studies was done around ten years ago, thus there is a need to update these studies. What follows are the various studies somewhat related to the present study. .

Sinajon (1977) studied on the career choices and aptitudes of junior and senior high school students of ASMS. The findings were as follows: Males tended to choose career in the field of Engineering, while females tended to choose careers in Medicine and Business. The fourth year students claimed that their interests played a great influence in their career selection, and a majority of them thought that they had only been helped to some extent by their guidance counselors. Lastly, parents were still the first persons the students would approach if they had a problem regarding career plans. Ma. Isabel Echanis’ study (1974) on the vocational aspirations of high school students in Central Luzon found out that females preferred to be either in Medical related professions or in Clerical jobs. Males on the other hand, opted for more technical jobs like Engineering and Agriculture. The expectations the students had were found to be influenced by the perceived potential role in the development of the country. They considered agriculture as the most necessary for nation building, followed by Health professions.

A study on the difference in expected occupations of students from public and private schools by Teresa Panganiban (1974) revealed that more public school students chose Agriculture, Public Service, Technology and Engineering, and Personal Service professions. Private School students, on the other hand, chose Health, Business and clerical occupations. While the previous studies mentioned focused on the career preferences and choices of students, the studies that follow give more emphasis on the factors influencing these choices and preferences. These studies were cited in Ellevera’s study (1981). The socio-economic status of the family was another dominating factor in the choice of a career. Still taken from Ellevera’s study (1981), the Ranis or ILO report (1975) on the status of the Philippine education and human resources cited that in the Philippines, the distribution of students among the different fields was largely governed by the income of the parents. Evidence showed that children from low income families tended to take up Education, Business and Commerce’ while those from the high income families tended to take up Science, Medicine, Engineering, and the Arts.

The studies of Torres (1977), Carbonel (1962), and Sladaña (1968) showed that the family and its financial capacity influenced the students’ career decisions. Gabison (1978, cited in Ellevera, 1981) in her study on career choices of high school students in Cebu City, came up with a comprehensive outline of the factors that may influence career choices. The different factors were divided into two dimensions, each of which was composed of several variables: (1) Psychological Dimension – intellectual variables: sex, values, interests and personality; (2) Socio-Economic Dimension income of the family, educational qualifications of parents, parental aspirations for their children.

Another important aspect to be taken into consideration in the Philippine setting is gender and its cultural implications. Gender influences occupational choice in numerous ways as a function of social organization. In our society, roles and responsibilities are quite defined not only in marriage and the family situations but also in work differentiation. Women are expected to take jobs that do not require much responsibility. In spite of the manifest clamor for equality in career opportunities, it is still in fact observed that in the Philippines, differentiation by sex is still prevalent (U.P. Sociology Laboratory, 1977, cited in Ellevera, 1981).

Synthesis and Relevance of the Reviewed Literature

Both foreign and local literature state that several factors, both intrinsic and extrinsic, are indeed related to an individual’s career choice. Intrinsic or personal factors such as interests, aptitude, values and personality. Extrinsic or situational and role factors found in one’s environment such as the family, peers, school, socio-economic status and opportunities. In relation to the gathered literature, the researchers have noted some conflicting results. While some studies revealed that the most popular career choice was engineering, others indicated that it was Health. Also, some studies indicated the influence of the family in an individual’s career choice while studies showed that interest in the field was the most popular factor influencing career choice, others showed that it was the influence of the family. In this light, the researchers would like to find out the current trend of occupational choices and preferences, and likewise find out the different factors having the greater influence on them.

Research Methodology

Research Design

The study made use of the descriptive method of research with the survey as its instrument in finding out the career choices of graduating high school students from Immaculate Conception Academy-West Campus of Dasmariñas City, Cavite, and the factors influencing them.

Description of Respondents

Respondents of this study are the students enrolled in Immaculate Concepcion Academy – West Campus of Dasmariñas City, Cavite, academic year 2013-2014. Only eighty (80) students are involved in the study consist of two (2) sections of the fourth level.

Research Instrument

This study will be using a survey design, a self-administered questionnaire to examine motivating factors for students of Immaculate Conception Academy-West Campus of Dasmariñas City, Cavite in choosing their future career. The list of attributes will be developed through an extensive literature review, and feedback from students and faculty. The questionnaire included factors of career choice. One section contained demographic questions regarding respondents’ gender, residency status and age.

Data-Gathering Procedure

The data for this research will be collected using a survey questionnaire. The survey will be created using suitable questions modified from related research and individual questions formed by the researchers. The explanatory letter attached to each survey questionnaire will be administered to the respondents stating the purpose of the research, the role of the student, and the proper implications for consideration. Respondents will be given enough time to answer.

Statistical Treatment of Data

The data that will be collected in this study will be subjected to certain statistical treatments. The data will be encoded, tallied and tabulated for better presentation and interpretation of results. The statistical methods that will be used are the following: Frequency and Percentage

This will be used to classify the respondents according their age, gender and residency status. The frequency will also present the actual response of the respondents to the specific question or item in the questionnaires. The percentage of each item will be computed by dividing it with the sample total number of respondents who will answer the survey. The formula that will be used in the application of this technique is:

% = (f/n) x 100
% = percentage
f = frequency
n = total population

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Student decision-making study. (2016, Apr 22). Retrieved from

Student decision-making study
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