Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Matthew Matsaganis

Abstract

Empirical studies pertaining to media effects on career aspirations have focused particularly on children and junior high school students. However, there is a lack of research focusing on college students and the impacts the media have on their career choices. This study investigates if the media plays a significant role in college students’ career choices, particularly students of ethnic and racial minority backgrounds. Students were selected from two organizations on campus with a media related mission, (N=21). Students ranged from ages 18 to 24 and were asked a series of closed and open-ended questions about their media consumption habits, their social identity, esteem, and career plans. Consistent with existing research, data analyses indicated that college minority students do consume more traditional media, such as television. However, media consumption was not directly related to students’ career aspirations (regardless of whether they were of minority background or not).

The main findings from this study show that media consumption is not related to students’ confidence that they will succeed in pursuing their careers of choice. Students did see media as being helpful sources of information in determining career goals. However, students were more likely to recognize sources of inspiration and models of professional success in media programs they consumed rather than in their everyday lives. The author discusses several plausible explanations for this apparent inconsistency and makes recommendations for future research directions. Future research should examine, for example, if students subconsciously make media influenced career decisions while reporting otherwise.

Included in

Communication Commons

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