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Card Sort 2.0

Purpose: The traditional card sort asks student to take a list of majors and careers and rank order them or place them in piles of varying degrees of interest. This activity asks you to identify various areas of importance regarding a major or career and use the card sort to rank order them several times over a week. This activity is designed to help you account for and recognize changes in attitudes about decisions. It will also help you to recognize the factors that influence such decisions in different ways.

As a result of this activity you will be able to:

  • Describe the match of a career or major based on differing criteria.
  • Discuss where conflict in rank order by various methods exists.
  • Prepare to do deeper informational research on the highest ranking items.


  1. Review a list of majors or potential careers and identify (using The Articulation Agreement) a short list of items to be given further consideration. Preferably a list of 30 or fewer items would be best for such an activity.
  2. Prepare 3X5 cards with each major or career written on it.
  3. Rank order these based on initial impressions and turn the card over and write the rank # and a few words to describe the interest level.
  4. Decide what issues are most important in this decision.
  5. Identify 6 attributes or issues that are important in the decision process.
  6. Now rank order the cards with emphasis for the ordering being the specific issues and attributes each day for a week.

* You may work with an existing set of cards such as the Work Values Card Sort.

Example Issue Areas (need to be important and relevant):

  • General interest
  • Related academic history
  • Potential remuneration
  • Excitement
  • Hands-on application
  • Advancement opportunity
  • Interests as measured
  • Stability
  • Personality
  • Values (specific)
  • Change and variety
  • Security

Example (from a student):

I went through the major list and ended up with 77 majors. After working with my advisor to discuss the issues I did the card sort starting with 30 majors. Little did I think that I would actually end up with a major in a field that was originally #22 on my list. I don’t feel I gave up my dreams, but I did put aside some majors based on false realities and too much grandiose thinking. International Relations is the prefect major for me, but the first time through I would have marked it off the list if I had not promised to keep it on. I have used this activity with two of my apartment mates and they thought it was cool. Sometimes I think we give up on some dreams too quickly. IR was low on my list because it required Calculus. I made it through the math because everything else was so good and motivated me to work hard.