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Career and Major Decisions

Decisions, Learn about Yourself, Gain Experience, Learn about the World of Work gain experience learn about yourself decisions learn about the world of work

Paired Comparisons

This is a good exercise if you have a number of different options and are having difficulty determining which alternative(s) are most appealing to you.  The exercise will often clarify your preferences.

Print the worksheet from

Follow these steps to use the technique:

List the options you will compare. Assign a letter to each option.

Mark the options as row and column headings on the worksheet.

Note that the cells on the table where you will be comparing an option with itself have been blocked out - there will never be a difference in these cells!

The cells on the table where you will be duplicating a comparison are also blocked out.

Within the remaining cells compare the option in the row with the one in the column. For each cell, decide which of the two options is more important. Write down the letter of the more important option in the cell, and score the difference in importance from 0 (no difference) to 3 (major difference).  As you’re going through this process, take notes about what values or questions seem most important for you.

Finally, consolidate the results by adding up the total of all the values for each of the options.

Evaluate the outcome.  How strong is your preference for the option that emerged as top-ranked?  What are the obstacles to implementing this particular option?

Center for Counseling & Student Development
261 Perkins Student Center, Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-2141
Fax: 302-831-2148