Vocational Interests and Personality Types of College Engineering Students in Relation to Academic Achievement

Naser Hourieh, Fordham University


The STEM crisis––i.e., the shortage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workers––continues to be a major concern within higher education. Literature examining attrition rates within these fields has primarily focused on academic-based factors, such as performance on standardized exams and grade point averages. This study is the first of its kind to explore whether, and to what extent, vocational personality traits and general personality types correlate with and explain the additional variance of academic success among undergraduate engineering students. The participants in this study included 46 engineering students recruited from Manhattan College. The vocational personality of each participant was assessed using the Self-Directed Search-Revised (SDS-R), and general personality was assessed using the NEO Personality Inventory-3 (NEO-PI-3). Grade point average and SAT scores were collected after a consent release form was signed. The results showed that while SAT scores were good predictors of GPA, the addition of personality factors increased the explained variance in GPA. Specifically, the Realistic and Investigative personality types from the SDS-R and Neuroticism and Agreeableness personality traits from the NEO-PI-3 were the highest predictors of GPA after controlling for SAT Math scores. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Hourieh, Naser, "Vocational Interests and Personality Types of College Engineering Students in Relation to Academic Achievement" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10827374.