Perceptions and influencers affecting engineering and computer science student persistence

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



In the 2012-2013 academic year, a survey to investigate why engineering and computer science students persist in their major was conducted at Michigan Technological University. This paper discusses the results of the survey and ties the findings to the literature. It focuses on: (1) who influenced students' decisions on picking a major or on changing a major (for example, friends, family, academic advisors, faculty, upper-division or graduate students, co-workers, and supervisors), and how did they affect students' persistence and (2) what is the impact of role models on student persistence. The analysis compares students who reported not having considered changing majors to students who considered switching to another major. The findings show that the students who did not consider changing majors reported having a stronger support system including faculty, academic advisors, and engineers who serve as role models. The data suggest that university faculty and staff need to reach out to the students who are deliberating about their initial choice of major and support the decision making process. © 2013 IEEE.

Publication Title

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE