My research project looked to explore the reasons to which students change or defer from their original degrees. I used a survey and an interview as methods for research to collect statistics from the BCM degree. The survey conducted collected 31 responses through 11 survey questions. The interview was conducted with one individual acting more like a focused study. Both were distributed on the BCM212 hashtag through linking my survey and asking for interviews.
My research was split into three stages of questioning:
- How many students have changed or deferred within current BCM cohort
- What was the reasoning for changing or deferring to BCM
- Have students thought about changing and why they chose to stay with BCM
To obtain the percentage as to how many students have changed degrees to get to BCM will provide a foundation to how often it occurs. Receiving the reasoning to why people change degrees or defer will provide popular trends and factors showing why people do it so often. Finally, to receive a percentage as to how many people think about changing or deferring will give me an insight into how common it is for students to even think about doing it. On the other hand, being equipped with the reasonings as to why they stayed will allow me to explore the strategies or factors which BCM inherit compared to differing degrees.
WHAT AMOUNT OF BCM STUDENTS HAVE CHANGED OR DEFERRED.
I was surprised when finishing my survey as the number of people who had changed degrees (35.5%) when combined with changing to a single (19.4%) or a double degree (3.2%) was significantly higher altogether compared to people who have been in the BCM degree from the start (35.5%).
This was my most important and surprising finding based on the conclusion of results. Altogether 65.5% of the BCM cohort surveyed had changed deferred from their original degrees compared to 35.5% who had stayed in the BCM degree from the beginning.
WHAT WERE THE MOST POPULAR REASONS FOR STUDENTS CHANGING?
In doing a university degree, the main aim is to achieve an end credential which acts as a pathway to a chosen career. In doing this a student must pass every subject within the degree. To do this you must have some sort of achievement motivation (Lieberman and Remedios, 2007). This is a concept which explores both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors contributing to the want to pass a subject and move towards that end credential.
However, this differs in every student as a loss of motivation either intrinsically or extrinsically can force students to change or defer from their original degree.
In my survey, I included both open and closed questioning to provide in depth and more meaningful answers while also included stagnant answers allowing for popular trends (Examples of Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions, n.d.). My most popular reasons included not liking the chosen degree (54.8%) and changing career paths (38.7%).
The loss of interest in a degree comes down to the intrinsic decrease of motivation. However changing your degree based on your chosen career path can be both intrinsically and extrinsically driven. Through a study done by the ABC, only 71% of graduates secure a job straight after university (Robinson, 2017). This statistic explores the uncertain nature of getting a job when finishing university and links to the idea of a changing career path.
When asking for a specific reasoning to why they changed or deferred a lot of the responses were specific to stress and degrees becoming overwhelming, leading to disliking the subject. This does, in fact, link to mental health which is an important topic of discussion today.
HAVE STUDENTS THOUGHT ABOUT CHANGING OR DEFERRING AND WHY DID THEY CHOOSE TO STAY WITH BCM?
As a media degree, social media is heavily incorporated within the syllabus. The factors within doing a BCM degree include having a twitter platform, having to regularly post on this platform and the need to put yourself out there as a media student. These features can impact students on changing degrees yet on the other hand it can attract certain individuals into choosing the degree (Acun, 2020).
As I do a double degree in BCM and Journalism, I have thought about changing before due to the overwhelming stress which comes with doing a double degree at times. Yet what made me continue was the positive factors which consist within the subject, such as the ability to follow my passion and be creative.
Whilst in the BCM degree, 51.6% of students had thought about changing or deferring during the BCM degree. The original reasoning to wanting to change or defer included a loss of interest towards the degree and uncertainty about their future. However, students chose to stay within the BCM degree because of the challenge of the degree and the content taught within it.
Overall, there was 38.7% percentage of current BCM students who were satisfied 8 out of 10 with the degree. This shows the satisfaction students have with the BCM especially in particular with the survey conducted during the COVID-19 period.
Due to the limited sample of research consisting of only the BCM cohort, this research cannot provide sufficient evidence on a large scale. However, identifying popular reasonings to why students change and defer can be linked to the specific degree and the idea of achievement motivation as a concept which leads to change. I want to leave my audience with the idea that change is inevitable for some individuals and it takes time for certain individuals to find a degree which specifically suits their interests. Through research, BCM has shown to be a degree which manages students well, appealing to students creative and social interests.
Lieberman, D. and Remedios, R., 2007. Do undergraduates’ motives for studying change as they progress through their degrees?. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(2), pp.379-395. <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1348/000709906X157772> [Accessed 6 June 2020].
Robinson, N., 2017. Uni Students Taking Longer Than Ever To Finish Degrees. Abc.net.au. <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-29/university-students-dropping-out-in-record-numbers/9203636> [Accessed 7 June 2020].
Examples.yourdictionary.com. n.d. Examples Of Open-Ended And Closed-Ended Questions. <https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-open-ended-and-closed-ended-questions.html> [Accessed 8 June 2020].
Acun, I., 2020. University Students’ Social Capital, Social Media Usage And Democratic Citizenship Behaviours. Eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au. <https://eds-a-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=944c00bc-0071-4bde-9623-f7dc869f4605%40sessionmgr4007> [Accessed 6 June 2020].