ABSTRACT

Career adjustment after college entrance is an important process for college students who chose their majors based on extrinsic motivation such as employability and job stability. In this study, the career adjustment process is investigated with ten college students who decided on their current majors primarily based on extrinsic motivation. Individual interviews were conducted. The data were analyzed according to the grounded theory approach. Participants were eight college students(4males and 4 females) with high vocational identity and two female students (as a comparison) with relatively low vocational identity. Twenty-two categories were formed as the result of open coding on the interview data; the relationship among categories were identified through axial coding. The participants experienced ‘ambiguity’ after the college entrance, and tried to adjust to their majors through various action/interaction strategies. Actions/interactions include ‘endurance of ambiguity’, ‘increase of self-awareness’, ‘recognition of the usefulness of their majors’, ‘setting career goals’, ‘increase of competence through successful experiences’, and ‘increase of active coping strategies’ etc. As they adjust to their majors, they reported to experience intrinsic motivation, an increase of autonomy, a positive cycle of an experience- assurance-confidence-efforts, and an increase of satisfaction in their majors. The process of career adjustment was composed of three stages: ‘confusion and exploration’, ‘the beginning of an adjustment’ and ‘the acceleration of an adjustment’. The core category of career adjustment was identified as 'accepting the self and the major based on both the extended knowledge and the successful experiences, while persisting to the end with being well- disposed toward the major. The contribution and limitations of the current study are described.

KEYWORD

college students, extrinsic motivation, career adjustment process, grounded theory

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