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Career Articles & Career/Major Websites
UCLA Using the Internet for College and Career Counseling students

Adventures in Education
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
America's Career InfoNet Career Resource
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)

Can You Change Your Career After 40?
Career Counseling of Youth with Learning Disabilities
Career Development and job-search advice for new college  graduates
Careers in the Military An Overview
Career Key Personality Summary
Career Planning for High School Students
Career Pressures Mean No Time for Exploration
Career Resource Library - Career Videos
Career Success Steps
Charting Career Paths Early
Choosing a College Major: For Love or for the Money?

Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path
Choosing a major is nothing to take lightly. It’s a major undertaking?

Choosing and Using Your Major
Choosing Your Major
Choose Your Major As You Choose Your Best Friend
Choosing Your College Major: So, what are you going to do with your life?
College and Career Quest Exercise

College Prep - 101: Helping Students Prepare For College
Collegeview Career Center
Creating Your Career Path
Dispelling the Myths of Career and Tech Schools

Don't Let Old Assumptions Hamper Your Success

5 Easy Ways to Incorporate Career Development into School Counseling
Ethics and Regulations of Cybercounseling
Exploring Majors
Figuring Out What You Want to Do
Finding Your Career Direction
Four 2 Explore Careers
Have We Got a Career for You!

How to Choose a Career

How to Choose a Major
How to Explore Careers Through Informational Interviewing
How to Find Your Ideal Internship

How To Jump Start Your Career
Introduction to Choosing a College Major
It's Never Too Early -- or Too Late -- to Visit Your College Career Office
Intern By Design: Creating Your Own Internship

Let's Face It; Advising Is The Stepchild Of Academia
Let's Go Surfing: Use of the Internet for Career Counseling in Schools

Making High School Count: Parent’s Guide
Making the Most of Your College Career Center
Majors & Careers
Major & Career Profiles section in the College Board’s website
Major Decisions: Some Common Misperceptions about Choosing a Major

Myths & Facts about College Majors and Careers 
NJ Counseling Association WebQuest link
Procrastination: Cause and Cure, Part 1 and Part 2
Reality Checks for Career Planning
Seven Rules about Taking Career Tests
Should you invest in an MBA
Skill Development Summary

Some Common Misperceptions about Choosing a Major

So What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? 
Survivor Face Off: Career vs Liberal Arts Majors

Technology-Delivered Assessment: Diamonds or Rocks?
The Challenge of Counseling in Middle Schools

The Right Skills: Universal Skills for the Work World
The use of genograms in career counseling with elementary, middle, and high school students
Turning Interests into Jobs: Student Stories
To Declare or Not to Declare...That is the Question
Top Ten Jobs for your Career Type

University of California Berkeley Career Center

Using the Internet in Career Education
Want To Be
What Can I Do With a Major In...
When I Grow Up: Five Tips For Those Who Still Don't Know What They
Why Your Major Matters (and How Do You Choose One)
Working towards Effective Practices in Distance Career Counseling
Your Soul's Work 


Charting Career Paths Early

I agree with her in trying to separate the students into three groups. I would like to focus on the undecided studentds.

We, the United States, usually wait to deal with most item of the reform issues after they have been "beat" to death and don't work. We always let the trial go on much too much longer than the error portion! This article "Charting Career Paths--Early", by Juliette N. Lester has much support and agreement from me. It's 10 years dated. but never the less, you see we are still in that dilemma of when, how, and what process to best have our students follow in career choices/planning. The author suggests that we should have learned something from our School -to-work initiative (that's anothe sore issue with me, and whose interests was it to squash it as quickly as it was ended).

We must learn to start our children/students (parents, schools, community orgqnizations, churches,etc)earlier than we do in mentoring programs, junior achievement in every community as much as possible, internships, summer programs, summer jobs, volunteer programs). This process should start at the elementary level. The students at the elementary can be assisted or assisting other students and it continues from there!

Careers are ususally introduced by the counselors, so why would we surmise that talking about this topic is only for certain levels. The article also suggests that if we, counselors followed the career/planning competencies of the NCDG(national career development guidelines) we would have successfully shown counselors how to involve most students plan and integrate career development! What would happen if we were proactive versus reactive to this issue or topic?

I would also like to share the following websites that
will also help when planning your lessons:

Major & Career Profiles section in the College Board’s website

One’s career path and his/her college major are closely intertwined. What colleges our students attend and what academic majors the students choose often determine their future career paths. In that sense, Major & Career Profiles section in the College Board’s website (URL: is very useful to both students and counselors, and this site is user-friendly. In the initial screen/page, users can find the lists of both college majors and careers: “Major Categories” where 49 college academic majors are listed and “Career Categories that include 25 career paths.

The “Major Categories” contains 49 titles in alphabetical order starting from ‘Agriculture & Related Sciences (contains 22 majors such as agricultural economics and soil science)’ to ‘Transportation & Materials Moving (6 majors like air traffic control and flight attendance). When you click each major, you see lots of useful information like ‘a concise description of the major,’ ‘Helpful high school courses,’ ‘Related majors,” and ‘Degree type.’

The “Career Categories” lists 25 career categories also in alphabetical order ranging from agriculture to business, law, transportation, etc. This section also provides very useful information about specific careers you choose. For example, if you click ‘architect,’ it shows ‘who is architects,’ ‘what they do,’ ‘outlook,’ ‘compensation,” and so on.

Its related site (URL:,3868,4-24-0-45262,00.html) suggests the following 10 questions to ask yourself (users themselves), while you look through the Profiles mentioned above:

1. Are you willing to work hard for the knowledge you'll gain in this major?
2. How much will you enjoy the daily activities of students in this major?
Do classes emphasize discussion? Lecture? Problem solving?
3. Do the typical course titles sound interesting?
4. How much do you enjoy the high school courses recommended for students who
want to choose this major?
5. How important to the major are skills in math? In reading? In writing? In research?
6. How specialized is the major? Will you learn a lot about a little or a little about a lot?
7. Is the major interdisciplinary? Will you use a wide range of academic disciplines to study
a particular topic?
8. Is this a career-oriented major? Will it prepare you for one or more specific careers or
will it give you a chance to build general skills that you can use in any number of
9. Can you see yourself in one or more of the listed related careers?
10. Which degree do programs in this major usually award?

Choosing Your Major

It is a very basic article that explains to students what having a major in college actually means. I think that the two questions always put to high school kids by adults are (1) "Where are you going to college?" and (2) "What are you going to major in?"

I think that this article does a good job of explaining what a college major is, how you might go about choosing one, and whether or not a college major has a connection to what the student will later choose as a career, or even just a first job.

The author points out that whether you choose a major first and then a career that will grow out of that, or instead have an idea of a career and then "back in to" a major is a bit of a chicken and egg question. What I like about her approach is that she points out that neither way of going about it is wrong, just different.

Then, to help kids toward making their decisions on the issue, she gives them the four basic steps of decision making process as they relate to the college major decision:

(1) Assess yourself

(2) Gather information and explore options

(3) Evaluate and make your decision (about which major)

(4) Take action, by sampling courses and doing activities related to the possible major.

Then, the author follows this up with a general discussion of factors which could keep the student from being able to come to a decision about his/her major, including internal and external factors.

Like I said, this article is very basic, but I really like it because it is a good first step article to teach high school kids about the whole college major area -- one with which they have not had to deal usually at earlier stages in our educational system.

After they understand the basics, then they can go off and explore the specifics of trying to narrow down this choice through other career exploration materials.

How to Explore Careers Through Informational Interviewing

Suppose you are a student who’s thoroughly researched a particular career for future work and employment. You’ve made sure the college you’ll be attending offers a major that will adequately train you for the career you’re interested in. You’ve checked out books, spoken to your Counselor, and gathered detailed information from various web sites. In fact, you feel that most all your questions about the career you’re interested in have been answered.

Think again. Think about an “informational interview’ with a professional who is currently working in the field you’re interested in. He or she can help fill in the gaps about your occupation’s educational requirements, prospects for future employment, career benefits and rewards. This type of face-to-face contact results in frank advice about the occupation you’re interested in, and details of the work environment that can’t often be found in a Counselor’s office, in a book, or on a web site

There’s a web site called JOBTRAK that works with hundreds of college career centers to help students and alumni connect with job opportunities. In the “Exploring Careers” section of the web site, JOBTRAK provides a useful article for anyone hoping to gain more information about a particular career.

JOBTRAK’s article states that ‘informational interviewing’ is simply talking to people who have jobs that interest you. The purpose of the interview is for students to gain knowledge about an area of work or a field of interest by talking with a person doing that work.

The article further adds that students should decide ahead of time what information they hope to gain from this type of interview, how to go about conducting the interview, and types of questions that could be asked. The ‘informational interview’ requires some work on the part of the student, but the benefits are outstanding.

Here are some of the important factors a student should consider when preparing for an 'information interview':

-- Know What You Want to Accomplish: learn more about a specific career, narrow your options, obtain advice, learn the ‘jargon’, broaden your network of contacts, and create a strategy for entering the job market for the specific career

-- Know How to Conduct the Informational Interview: write down questions ahead of time, dress appropriately, learn something about the person you’ll be speaking with, and remember that the interview is for gathering information and seeking advice … not an employment interview.

-- Know What to Ask: keep your questions open-ended to engage the person you’re interviewing into meaningful conversation. Ask about skills, training, and education needed to perform this kind of work. Ask about ‘pluses’ and ‘minuses’ of the occupation, and prospects for future employment.

For anyone thinking about asking for an ‘informational interview’ with a professional in their field of interest, I recommend this JOBTRAK article as an excellent place to start. If a student were to follow the outline provided by this JOBTRAK article, they would be very well prepared for the interview. And they would gain additional insights and information about their field of interest. A student would have a much better idea if the occupation would be a good “fit” with his/her interests, skills, values, etc.

On a personal note, I recently conducted an ‘informational interview’ with a college counselor working in a community college setting. I was not familiar with this particular technique to gather additional career and job-related information, and even entertained the idea that the interview could be conducted over the telephone. After meeting the counselor face-to-face and asking my questions, I can’t imagine conducting an ‘informational interview’ in any other manner. There are benefits galore to be gained by visiting the interviewee's workplace and observing the work environment.

Careers in the Military Overview

A very dear friend of mine just lost his cousin in the war in Iraq this past week, so I apologize for not being so active as I have been. While I thought working on the class today would keep my mind from it, I ended up chosing an article about Careers in the Military. Nate (the young man who died) was 18 and all his life he knew he wanted to serve his country.

The article from Princeton Review is entitled "Careers in the Military Overview" and it is VERY short - but it does link to the five crutial areas: Army, Navy, Air force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard.
The article discusses the concept of civic duty and the strength of our military is the PEOPLE who serve. So very true.
Lastly, it outlines the benefits of serving: education, housing, medical and dental benefits. So many of our students have parents who are losing medical benefits these days - they are very aware of how important it is to have such benefits.

Choosing a College Major: For Love or for the Money?

The title, which sums up the topic of the article, is a frequent topic of discussion with students and parents. Many students and career counselors say the pressure to choose the "right" major is more intense than ever because of factors like rising tuition costs and the uncertain economy. Parents and students today often consider college more an investment than a time of academic and personal exploration. Some students say they are education consumers seeking the best return on that investment, which is often financed with a student loan. A Northeastern University study reports that on average, humanities and education majors fared far worse financially than students in business or engineering.

But some people worry that choosing a career based primarily on economic factors can
lead students to make poor choices. There are many other factors to consider when choosing a college major. It is recommended that liberal arts majors think of themselves not as psychology or sociology majors, but as workers with marketable skills like research, writing and communications. A danger in the Northeastern economists' research is that it adds to the "mythology" that only dollar figures are important in choosing a field of study, and it does not account for differences in personality, aptitude, interest and values.

Career Resource Library - Career Videos

This site is designed to help people make informed decisions about their career direction. It is a component of Career One Stop. I was fascinated with all the careers listed and I personally explored many by watching the videos. The sound is great and they also provide words which is very cool. You can find any career imaginable by searching the alphabet.

Survivor Face-Off: Career vs. Liberal Arts Majors,3868,4-24-0-38381,00.html

Two evenings ago, I was having dinner with my husband (a Kenyon College grad) and good friend (a Yale alumna). In telling them about my certificate program progress, the conversation turned somehow to the fact that college doesn’t prepare one to be able to actually “do” anything. Rather, it is an opportunity to read great works of literature, think about the ideas that have shaped society, and generally explore valuable, but mostly-useless knowledge. This was my husband’s and friend’s argument. I graduated from Chico State and argued that most of my fellow alumni graduated with skills that qualified them for particular jobs: computer programming, teaching, nursing, accounting, and the like. The Kenyonite and Yalie were struck by this difference, having never considered that an undergraduate degree provided more than a broad liberal arts education.

This article from the College Board pits the career-oriented major against the liberal-arts major in a fantasy episode of the reality show, Survivor. It compares the relative value of each education. While a career-oriented major provides specific knowledge for mastery in a given career field, a liberal arts major can take general knowledge to create one’s own career path. The article also delves briefly into the type of person that may be attracted to either type of major: the career-oriented major might appeal to someone who knows what his/her career will be and wants to get started on learning the specifics of the field; the liberal arts major is someone who is comfortable with career uncertainty and wants to define his/her own career path. This is a short article, but useful for a student deciding which of these two broad paths to take in choosing a school and major.

NJ Counseling Association WebQuest

This extensive web quest exercise begins by directing the students to take two interest inventories from either Career Key, Princeton Review’s Career Quiz, School in the USA Career Key, or the College Major Interest Inventory. From the interest inventories, students list three potential careers and are direct to the Occupation Outlook Handbook, the College Boards Career Browser, or the Prince Review Career Search. From their they select two careers of interest and are directed to What Can I Do With a Major In… Students then select two related careers and list the web site of a related professional organization. Next they use two of three college search engines: College Board’s College Search, Counselor-O-Matics, or Peterson’s College Quest. They select six college that offer majors in that area of interest. Next they to the College Board Colleges Side-bySide Comparison and answer the following questions. What is the percentage accepted by each school? What is the undergraduate enrollment?
Next student are directed to the US News Personality Quiz and answer questions about their profile. They are then directed to the NACAC College Fair Listing and find two fairs they can attend. They are then directed to the College Guide Wizard to thoroughly research two college websites. This is the most detailed section of the exercise. They are asked to read the student newspaper, find the course catalog, email a professor in their interest area, review admission requirements, print a copy of the application, take a virtual tout of the colleges, go to the athletic page, read about a sport that like, and review the campus security. Finally, they are asked to download the common application. After all of this is completes, it is suggested that they read guidebooks, view books, go to college fairs, and visit college campuses.

There are some great strengths to this exercise. They offer choices of links in each section that actually exposes the student to more information than they need and requires a little more thought. The Link to the College Guide Wizard is also a strength. On the negative side this exercise would take several hours and if assigned independently, would require access to technology that not all students will have. If it were used in the classroom, students would need to be in the computer lab for several days to complete. I will definitely share this with my AVID teachers who might be able to use it as a class assignment.

The use of genograms in career counseling with elementary, middle, and high school students

The foundation of the author’s view of career development is that parental expectations and role models influence career aspirations and educational decisions and that examining family dynamics, role, and values can help them reach their individual goals. Through the use of genograms, the child and counselor can assess and discuss career patterns in their family. Implementation takes a developmental approach based on the student’s level: from career awareness in the elementary school to facilitating career exploration in the middle school where they begin examining their interests and abilities to the personal preferences, interests, and decisions-making processes of high school students. At the middle school levels students are encouraged to ask the “why”, “what”, “who”, and “when” questions. The author includes great questions to ask families. High school students are asked to interview family members and identify patterns of education, skills, and careers among family members. The author also discusses ways to integrate the material into classroom lessons.

Working towards Effective Practices in Distance Career Counseling

Noting that the field of Distance Career Counseling is rapidly on the rise and largely unregulated, author James F. Malone states that, “the time is ripe to focus on early field reports from practitioners who are using distance methodologies in their career counseling.” Malone notes that many distance career counselors are “seeking guidelines and standards,” and that some form of competency-based training and certification might be needed in order to help regulate the field and ensure best practices. Despite the ongoing debate about online counseling practices in general, Malone does say that many innovative practices and delivery models are being created and that these models should be explored.

Malone spends most of the article talking about effective distance career counseling practices, which are as follows:

1.        Distance counselors need to have experience with and knowledge about face-to-face counseling practices. (Citing Brown and Ryan Crane, Malone lists key elements such as comprehensive client assessment with disclosure, education and employment research, exposure to career models, written action plans/goals, and ongoing counseling support).

2.        Distance counselors need a “Clear and Comprehensive Website” for potential clients so that they can have realistic expectations about what services they will receive (including service delivery/design, confidentiality ethics/legal issues, fees and the professional counseling relationship.)

3.        Distance counselors need “A Comprehensive, Technology-Assisted Pre-Counseling In-take Registration and Assessment Protocol, “ with validated internet instruments, open ended questionnaires, and qualitative information-gathering processes. (This also helps build the counselor-client relationship.)

4.        Distance counselors need to ensure a “Personalized Selection and Assignment of a Well-Matched Counselor.”

5.        Distance counselors need to create “Technology-Assisted Strategies that facilitate efficient and personalized communication between counselor and client.” (This must include strategies for synchronous and asynchronous communication and methods that compensate for the lack of face-to-face contact.)

6.        Distance counselors need “Structured Distance Career Counseling Interventions.” (It is especially imperative for distance counselors and clients to have mutually agreed-upon goals and follow-up activities because of the logistical communications challenges inherent in this relationship).

7.        Distance counselors must “Maintain Counselor-Client Contact Between Sessions.”

8.        Distance counselors should “Provide Clients with Thoughtful, Written Feedback from Their Counseling Sessions.” (Malone cites Boer in stating that “research suggests written communication provides clients and counselors with deeper insights than initially expected and enhances the career planning process in a profound way.”)

9.        Distance counselors must “Evaluate Distance Career Counseling Practices.”

Career Success Steps

This is an article I would recommend to students as an example of a college’s steps in choosing a major or career. The steps are outlined for Northern Kentucky University students but are applicable for any other institution when we have given students the internet tools on how to find resources at their own schools.
The article is titled "CAREER SUCCESS STEPS" – Excerpt from the article, “This is a model of career decision-making and planning which lays out suggested activities to be completed during each of the (assumed) four years a student is in college, not just in deciding upon your major but also developing leadership skills and experiences to enhance your degree and chances of landing that professional position! Look it over and see if it gives you any ideas that would be helpful.”
I like that the article breaks down steps that a college student can focus on per year rather than saying you should choose your major and career from the beginning and work on achieving that goal. My experience was to enter as an undeclared major, as many high school seniors I did not have a clear picture of what I wanted to study or what profession I wanted to work in. I chose to focus on finding courses I felt would be interesting while completing general ed requirements and as suggested in the article to explore student organizations. Not intentionally I think I was preparing myself for a career in education – the organization I most contributed to and continued participation in through the years was a mentoring and tutoring program for a nearby low-income elementary school. I loved the experience.
I started off taking one course in Latin American history and that sparked an interest in a second course then to move on to another in the Latin American Arts category. I was involved in the AAP (Academic Advancement) program at UCLA and was able to network with other students with similar interests and came to find my course of study, Latin American Studies, an interdisciplinary program that allowed for flexibility in taking courses from different areas (my focus was history, sociology and education). Well the purpose of that explanation is to say that I enjoyed the article’s presentation of choosing a major/career as sort of falling into place on its own if you are open to explore in academics as well as student activities and volunteer or job experiences.
The mention of attending major/career expo’s is important early on or I would suggest attending the open houses that departments have usually during freshman orientation. Also important is the reference to the college’s career development center as a resource.
A website I would recommend with a simple layout as a source of information on majors and associated careers is the Arizona Sate University Career Services site , .

A resource I just came across is “The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal” .
If you are interested, as I am, in the topic of mentoring as influential to the student transition there is a good article in the current issue, direct link is . An excerpt from the article,

“Students who feel comfortable with the academic and social transition into the collegiate environment are more likely to persist through graduation. Advisers play a large role in this success. A student who develops an early relationship with an adviser is likely to return to the adviser later for referrals to necessary campus resources throughout the semester, academic year, and his or her college career. This communication will help the student to reach his or her goals, one of which is to create an appropriate schedule.

Creating a schedule with an informed adviser provides an opportunity for both the student and the adviser to participate in choosing courses in which the student can be successful. Understanding how students learn best, what their major and career goals are, and how additional extracurricular activities (athletics, employment, or clubs, for example) will affect class times can help in developing an appropriate class schedule. Matching students' learning abilities and types with professor instruction and assessment styles can enhance the classroom transition that occurs each semester. Again, developing a trusting relationship with advisees is important to this level of success in the advising arena. Furthermore, with the majority of the students' time being used to attend classes, complete assignments, and study for exams, it is important that academic matches occur within the framework of the classroom setting. With the important role that classroom time plays in peer development, even more importance is placed on this decision making process.”

To Declare or Not to Declare...That is the Question

This article talks about the differences of entering college knowing what your major is or entering as “undeclared.” If a student enters college having already chosen a major and stays with it, he will probably be able to obtain more than a degree. Time may allow him to earn a second major or minor, or have an opportunity to explore a variety of other courses.
Many students, however, start college without knowing what they want to major in or do afterwards, and begin their undergrad career as “undecided” or “undeclared.” These students sometimes worry that being undecided will hurt their chances of being accepted into a desired school, but many schools use the student’s designated major only to assist in placement with academic advisors. Students will not fall behind, as the first semester/year is when general academic requirements can be met.
There are advantages to both ways of entering college. Students should not worry, as there is no right or wrong way to go about selecting a major. Doing what is right for the individual is what is important. Once in college, professors, academic advisors, career counselors, and peers can help in the process of selecting a major.
The article states that: “…many schools assure students that majors have no impact on college admissions.”         


How to Choose a Major

The article first asks the student why he or she is going to school. If it is to prepare for a specific career after college then one should choose a career-focused major such as engineering or education. However, if one’s reason for attending college is to gain general knowledge, among other things, then a student should consider majoring in liberal arts which may not lead one directly to a career but by emphasizing critical thinking skills will prepare a student for a multitude of different job and career opportunities.

The article suggests that the student be open-minded when selecting classes. While in school, one should think about what sparks one’s attention; which classes do you find compelling. The article provides a list of other suggestions such as speaking with an upperclassman or meeting with an advisor. It also suggests talking to professionals in a field that may be of interest to a student. Most importantly it tells the student to “pay attention to your passions.”

I am of the belief that students, unless they are focused on a career such as engineering, should take time in college to explore different majors before they settle on one particular area of focus. I also don’t think, unless of course they are pursuing a career in engineering or something else that is very specific, that a student should choose a school based on a major. Most schools have a broad based liberal arts program which will prepare students for either a more focused graduate program or a career direction. I wondered how the rest of the class felt about this and would like to hear your opinions.


Creating Your Career Path

This career planning article targets high school students, and includes a little bit of college major decisions, but it is also for anyone needing some career planning advice. A portion of the article emphasizes self-reflection, as it opens with typical thoughts that would most likely frustrate the individual, including “how can I get a handle on what jobs will be actually be available when I am ready to graduate?” The author offers several tips in pursuing a career choice, which are to do a self-assessment, exploring different careers, learning to make decisions, learning to self-market, and developing your own support system.

These tips are seemingly basic and straightforward “checklists” of things to do, but realistically, these summarize steps of an individual’s life, which could take months, even years to develop. It’s a great way to be introspective such as self-assessments and career exploration, as well as develop life skills such as learning to make decisions, self-market, and developing support systems.

University of California Berkeley Career Center

University of California Berkeley Career Center has an excellent career planning website. I found the information in the Planning Your Future area very helpful in career exploration. There is a Decision Scenarios and Planning Resources section that provides a student steps towards making a decision or solidifying their plans and resources to help them make decisions about his/her major, career, or graduade school options. Under the Deceision Scenarios section, it has question such as What should I major in?; Which careers go with my major?; and How can I best prepare for the career I'm concerning?. On the Planning Resources, it has some of the following topics:
1. Evaluate Yourself (self-assessment tools)
2. Make Connections (get advice from others)
3.Research Your Options Print and Online resources
4.Get Experience (Types of hands on experience and how to obtain it)
5. Make Decisions (decision-making steps and styles)

Some Common Misperceptions about Choosing a Major by Michael J. Leonard

I like this one in particular, “Some Common Misperceptions about Choosing a Major” (by Michael J. Leonard), because it addresses issues that can ultimately slow down a student’s progress in choosing a major. One of these is the assumption that students who major in the humanities are qualified only for careers in those areas. This is a personal favorite, as I am an advocate for a liberal arts education, especially for the “undecided.”

The 5 Misperceptions addressed are:

1)        The best way to find out about majors is to take courses.
2)        I’ll just get my Gen Eds out of the way first.
3)        Picking a major and a career are the same thing.
4)        Choosing one major means giving up all the others.
5)        The major I pick now will determine my lifelong career.

How to Choose a Career by Alex Epstein

Written specifically for college students, I believe this article is relevant for younger individuals as well. Epstein begins by defining an ideal career as one in which “you face and overcome great challenges, maximize your creative capacities, and progress from achievement to greater achievement – all while doing the work you love most.” He uses Michael Jordan as an example of someone whose key to happiness was his passion for his work. Although we don’t have to achieve the level of success Jordan did, we should strive to reach our potential doing the work we love.

Transitioning to a pessimistic, or perhaps more realistic point of view, the author states that most people do not have careers they love. He poses the question, “why do so many people fail at choosing a career when the decision has such a crucial effect on the happiness?” He contrasts the lack of vision or method for selecting a career with the more careful approach people take with buying a car. Obviously, a rational method of thinking, researching, checking and test-driving make for a much more successful search and selection than the more haphazard approach many take when choosing a career.

After consulting several adults who had successfully chosen their careers, the author developed the following method for choosing a career.

1.        INTROSPECTION – Think about past experiences and the emotions you felt while doing them. Since a career may span up to 50 years, look for an activity you are completely passionate about – not merely interested in at the moment.
2.        IDENTIFICATION – The basic rule to follow is doing the activity you love to do the most. Evaluate your own qualifications or whether you are willing to make an effort to get them. In addition, consider the challenge you will get out of the career.
3.        VALIDATION – Consider other aspects of life, such as romance, recreation, and friendship, and ask yourself how well this career fits in. The process of validating includes understanding everything it entails.

I liked his idea of the “typical day test,” the final step of the validation process where students write down, in as much detail as possible, what an average day in their future career will be like. Students evaluate their answers and ask, “Is this what I want?” and “Am I willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in this career?” If a student can answer yes to those questions, he or she is ready to start and begin achieving his/her highest potential.

The Right Skills: Universal Skills for the Work World

This article found on the college view web site contained some very practical advice and information on skills needed for any career. More than helping students find the perfect career, I think the counselor’s role is to help the student figure out what line of work he or she is best suited for. This article gives both counselor and student a clear list of qualities and skills needed to succeed.

The following is a list of qualities the article mentions as necessary for any job.

Function in a team environment
Written and oral communications skills
Eager to learn
Dependable and responsible
Able to work with minimal supervision

College Prep - 101: Helping Students Prepare For College

The article highlights choosing a major - how important it is and how to go about finding a major that works for you. It offers up suggestions to think about before deciding like:

1)Gather information about yourself
2)Become informed about social issues that affect your career
3)Job market exploration

The article also offers up resources students may want to explore to choose a major including career resource centers, career assessments and/or enrolling in an academic course. There are also helpful suggestions including searching the internet, shadowing someone in the work place that interests you and developing a plan.

How To Jump Start Your Career, by Randy M. Miller

I found this article to be very interesting and informative. In my opinion, I think it would be more beneficial to those who are ready for a career change as apposed to a college bound student. However, Sometimes a Career change requires going to college to complete course work for the alternative profession. The article is based on the underlying belief that one should truly be happy-not unhappy-in his or her career pursuits. The article discusses a 4 step change of career guidelines which can be utilized by both college bound high school students and individuals seeking a career change. The list incorporates an initial Assessment and moves on to an Self Exploration Component and then gives guidelines for the Decision Making process. A fourth step, Self-Marketing, was included as well which basically states that whatever one decides for their alternative, being confident and comfortable knowing that he/ she has taken the steps to better understand themselves and their goals. I believe all these elements are essential in Jump starting a future career.

Exploring Majors

One of the first things the article clarifies is that a major does not lock you into a certain career. The explain that a major develops skill that can be used in many careers. The article goes on to state a student does not have to know what job they want before picking a major. They recommend picking a major based on personal likes and interests. The article states career ideas change several times over the course of 4 years in college.

The article suggest using college resources to help you discover your major selection. Some resources they suggest using are:
Consult advisors
Keep in touch with advisors and resources
List you top choice and research them
Don’t rule out any choices
Speak with informed college faculty
Speak with fellow students
Attend major/minor fairs

The article suggests using the following suggestion to enhance your major selection:
Keep a journal and record success and excellence in field
Plan college classes around your major to enhance your employment marketability
Take upper level course in the major
Develop solid written and oral communication skills
To make your yourself more well rounded, volunteer and become active especially in leadership type activities

The article offers additional resources to help with your decision:
Meet with college career specialist
Attend groups and workshops
Use libraries and research books on undeclared majors
Read books about specific career
Use online resources
Use alumni volunteers to gain further insights into certain fields

The article wraps up by providing some online resources that focus on undeclared majors. The resources listed are:
What can I do With a Major In? (University of Tennessee)
What can I do With a Major In? (University of North Carolina)
Major Handout Profiles (Georgia Southern State University)
Major Resource Kits (University of Delaware)
Career Plan It (National Association of Colleges & Employers)

This website was developed by Providence college to help undergraduates pick a major.

I will summarize this article in outline form.
The article is broke down into:

I. Myths
a. Like: You don't have to pick a career before choosing a major.

II. Truths
a. Majors lead to a variety of careers
b. Careers draw from a wide variety of majors
c. Your undergraduate field does not have to be graduate field
d. How majors connect with field
e. Liberal arts major can help with employment
f. Choose a major based on interests and challenges

III. Researching Majors
a. Consult, maintain, develop a list, speak with students,speak with depts. chairs and directors, etc.

IV. Enhancing Major
a. Record of success
b. Take electives in major
c. Challenge yourself
d. Develop academic skills
e. Do extracurricular activities

V. Use School Resources

There were several links for more information.

I found this article to be very informative for the student who hasn’t any idea what he/she will major in or what he/she plans to do after graduation. There is a big misconception that a student must know your life plan before heading off to college when in reality all he/she needs to know is that you want to go, and that you want to go for yourself. In the end any major he/she chooses will be transferable when he/she enters the working world.
When I was in high school I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. During my senior year there was no support like there is now from counselors. Our high school counselor was our football coach who didn’t have a clue on how to assist students. Therefore I was one of those student’s who thought that if I didn’t have my major then what would I possibly do in college. I think it is important to get the point across to student’s that they can go to college without a major or a path, and obtain one while there.

This article guides the student with help in how to obtain a major. From fairs, networking, workshops, and individual consultations. There is an abundance of information and assistance waiting for students who do not know their path and we, as counselors should be prepared and willing to assist.

I looked at the article, "Exploring Majors," which came from a Providence College career center link: The goal of the service is assist undeclared majors by providing counseling, resources, and programs.

I was pleased to read, "Our focus is to help you with the important process of self assessment and exploration, not premature selection of a career." I believe in the value of a strong liberal arts education, one in which the students learn to think critically and where they develop verbal and written communication skills. Students should be guided to select a major based on their strengths and interests. The article does support the idea that in doing so, they will develop skills for the job market.

The article also suggests that students supplement their major with a minor, electives, or internship activities to enhance "employment qualifications."

A few other noted pieces of advise include, "All majors lead to a wide variety of career areas and conversely all career areas draw from a wide variety of majors." And, "Your undergraduate field of study does not necessarily define or limit your
graduate field of study."

The article concludes with a list of related topics. One of the topics is, "What do I do with a major in…" Since the website was not directly linked to further resources, I plugged that phrase into a Google search. I found several sites that addressed the topic. One I particularly liked was from UNCW. The user can select a major and then be taken to related career titles, related major skills, and finally related websites. This exercise was very valuable in showing the expansive opportunities one can have with any given major.

*The premise of the article is that “undeclared” majors are OK! Most students do not know what they want to major in, so just narrow down your interests to two or three favorite areas. Try to choose colleges that have substantial departments or concentrations in those three areas, at a minimum, so that you can explore them all. The article tries to debunk the common myth about whatever you do eventually choose to major in has to determine what you do with the rest of your life. It doesn’t.

At Providence College, the undergraduate advising function and the career services function are closely aligned, which is, in my opinion, an excellent structure and one I will look for when I research colleges in the future. The process that the student is advised to go through to choose majors is very similar to the steps one might go through to prepare for a career after graduation: internships, get to know department chairs, and plan extracurricular activities that will enhance your major. Community service works very well with most majors.

The Providence article included five links to resources for further student study. The best one was What Can I Do With This Major.
(  I decided to search the majors relating to art and art history since I have a daughter majoring in Art History with one more year to go in college. The information that I got back was quite detailed, evolving from art, to art history, to museum management, to photography, to art sales, to retailing, to merchandising, to designing. Each category listed potential types of employers and strategies for getting a job.

*I chose the article called Exploring Majors at

A little background. Providence College is located in Providence RI and run by the Dominican Friars. It was established in 1919. The school has an average graduation rate of 84% and a freshman retention rate for 4th year of 92%. One of the highest in the nation. There a approximately 3600 students attending.

Article: Exploring Majors. This article was broken down into 7 key topic areas. I found 6 of them to be of great value.

Common Myths; One of the biggest myths is you have to know what you want to be before you choose your major. Nothing is farther from the truth. You don't have to decide what you want to be before choosing a major. It's OK to select a major because of your interests. Key points to remember,
1.Undergraduate study doesn't limit your graduate field.
2.Make sure the information on your major accurately connect with your career. It would be very hear breaking to find out that your major doesn't work with your career choice after you've completed. DO YOU HOMEWORK.
3. Find a major that interests you and challenges you academically, not what will get me a jog. This is one place people make a big mistake.

Research Major: This section laid out what this college has to offer in the way of researching majors. It is important for all students to find these resources at their school Key points'
1. consult and maintain contact with academic resource.
2. Get perspectives from others
3. Attend a career fair.

Enhancing Major: This section offered very good advice. One piece of advice given was to select your electives or minor in a way that it would enhance your major. This is a great way of making yourself employable.

Check Out Other Resources:
This section hade great links to web sites that offered information on what you can do with certain majors, tips on how to prepare, and links to profession organizations.

The article I will describe here is from the Providence College website:

The title of the article is “Exploring Majors” and it was written to alleviate the fears of students entering a liberal arts college and still undecided about a major and/or career, as well as to provide some guidance for students in identifying an eventual major. Very early into the article the writer debunks the myth that you have to know “what you want to do for the rest of your life” before choosing your major. Instead, it reassures students that most career areas (and graduate schools) draw from a variety of majors. It encourages students to follow their interests, and to choose courses that complement those interests. Talking to other students in majors that one is considering and supplementing academia with practical internship experiences can also be beneficial.

I was particularly intrigued with the section on “Enhancing Your Major” which reads very much like a high school four year plan: develop a record of success in your academics; plan electives that complement your intended major and enhance your employability; take challenging courses; develop good written and oral communication skills, analytic abilities and computer literacy; and supplement coursework with extracurricular activities and/or volunteer work.

The article concludes by listing a variety of resources available to Providence College students both in house and online (from other universities).

*I chose the article “Exploring Majors” on the Providence College website.
Providence has an “Undeclared Advising Program” to assist students in choosing a major.
The article begins by reassuring students that a lot of people have trouble choosing a major, and that it’s not as important as a lot of people think anyway. Your major won’t limit your career opportunities as much as you might think — you should pick your major “based on what interests you and challenges you academically, and what you will enjoy studying.”
It goes on to give advice about enhancing your major by choosing electives and a minor, choosing challenging courses, and supplementing your academic work with extracurricular activities and volunteer work.
Finally, the article lists resources available for researching majors, including talking to students and department heads, software available for self-assessment and career exploration, and online resources.

*Exploring Majors

- This article incorporates Providence College's resources and the questions that are crucial for incoming freshmen. The article does a superb job of simplifying the myths and misunderstandings of choosing a major.
- Undeclared advising: explaining that choosing "undeclared" is not a negative one.
- Common Myths: a breakdown of wide-spread myths on college majors.
- Enhancing Your Major: a small lecture on what students can do to explore and gain experience about their interested major.
- Our Resources: lists out events and organizations that students can explore on the Providence campus.

*Exploring Majors

This article is talks about the difficulty of choosing a major and the importance of self assessment and exploration before making a choice. It talks about common myths and the why these myths aren't true and gives clear-cut steps about researching your major. Steps include working with your college advisor, maintaining regular contact with academic resources who can help you, developing a list of top choices and researching those choices, and not ruling out a major based on strictly on career concerns. Resources for helping a student to identify a major are listed, including online resources.

*Article Review: Exploring Majors

This was an article on the Providence College website which was contained in a series of career counseling articles, put out by the Career and Internship Services Department. The other topics covered in the website include the following: Know Yourself, Exploring Majors, Researching Careers, Networking, Shadowing, Internships, Entry-level Jobs, Campus Recruitment, Resumes and Correspondence, Interviewing, and Graduate or Professional School. All of the articles are worth a look, but the one for this particular assignment was the one on Exploring Majors.

Included in the Exploring Majors article were the following sections:
Common Myths--which essentially advised students that they did not have to necessarily chose a career or know what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives in order to select a major. It further stated that all majors lead to a wide variety of career areas and all careers draw from a wide variety of majors. It stressed that a well-rounded liberal arts education which encourages the development of solid research, communication and other skills. It encouraged students to choose majors based on that interests and cahallenges tham rather than what would get them a job.

Researching Majors: The article suggests the following strategies:
-Consult your undeclared adviser and key academic resources.
-Develop a list of top choices and thoroughly research each.
-Do not rule out any major based solely on career concerns.
-Speak with Department Chairs and Program directors.
-Carefully speak with students in the majors of interest.
-Attend school major/minor fair.

Enhancing The Major:
This section offers excellent advise on ways to improve one's employablity after one has selected the major, such as doing well academically in the field of study, carefully planning electives and minors, challenging oneself with upper division courses, independent study and internships, and supplementing one's education with volunteer and extracurricular activities.

Print and Online Resources: These were excellent and I would encourage you to go into the article and possibly bookmark it for these online resources alone.

You may be wondering why I chose these articles. I was thinking about why students seem to panic and delay their college search, choosing a major and finally a career path. So when I went to the course documents I found a link to the article about procrastination.

Let's Face It; Advising Is The Stepchild Of Academia

This article focuses on the possible consequences of having the department faculty member be responsible for offering career guidance to the students who have chosen a major in liberal arts. It points out that faculty members are already busy being scholars and doing research and have little expertise, time, or motivation to direct a student toward possible careers in their chosen major beyond the proverbial one of “teaching.” This is especially significant for the Humanities or liberal education, such as English, Communications, and other languages. There are students who immediately know what field they want to study and precede straight ahead. Then there are those students who have chosen a major that has prerequisites and a definite career path, such as nursing, architecture, or engineering. However, for those students who choose a more liberal arts education, what would be their career objectives and who would advise them?

If faculty members are not stepping up to this task, does that leave the Career Center and possibly the college counselor? The article continues with the admonition that if liberal arts students are not being advised toward a multiple of career options, they may not choose to study English, for example, and the consequences would appear to lead to a diminished academic program in these areas. Would this mean a newer version of the “publish or perish”, only now it is “advise or perish”?

Can You Change Your Career After 40?

I chose an article entitled "Can You Change Your Career After 40?" because that is precisely what I am trying to do. The article was very cursory and replete with marketing materials and links to fee-based activities regarding career changes. However, the article made me think about what it takes to successfully consider and make a career change after 40. According to the article, one should begin with a skills and interest inventory. The next step is to research careers that are compatible with your interests and skills. Focus on career choices that are enjoyable, not merely aimed at the financial bottomline. Narrow down career choices by conducting in depth research about careers on your list. Finally, make a plan about how to get started such as determining if more education or financial resources are necessary to make the career change.

The article provided some interesting food for thought but was too high-level to be of tremendous benefit. I am certain more thorough articles are available on the same topic.


Making High School Count: Parent’s Guide

Summary: As college counselors we will not just be consulting with students. We will be talking with their parents also. What are some of the ways that we can advise parents to assist their children in the process of considering the many options in colleges, majors and ultimately, careers? What decisions should parents be making as their children weigh these options? This article introduces the following ideas to parents:
1.        Helping kids keep their options open
2.        The importance of being a good student.
3.        The importance of selecting the right courses in school.
4.        Helping kids use their time outside of school wisely.
5.        Ways to think about the future
6.         Thoughts about college costs
7.         Resources to get help

5 Easy Ways to Incorporate Career Development into School Counseling by Susan Marconi Harrell, M.A.

This article suggests that many students graduating from high school with noteworthy GPAs and outstanding test scores are ill-prepared in making career decisions. With the surmounting duties and responsibilities of high school counselors, the author (also a counselor) notes that not much time is given for acquiring and disseminating career information to students. Therefore, a combined effort from faculty, parents, and the students themselves is needed for effective career counseling.

This article highlights five “easy” ways to incorporate career development into school counseling. Here are the suggestions:
1.        Act on Needs Assessment (assess the needs of the student population)
2.        Take Advantage of Human Resources (teachers, career specialists, JROTC, computer labs)
3.        Motivated Students to be Well-Informed (so they can make their own decisions)
4.        Engage in Parental Collaboration (newsletters, emails, conferences, flyers)
5.        Above all, Listen! (to their wants and needs)


Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path By Randall S. Hansen. Ph.D.

This article gives advice on six ways to help students find a major that is meaningful to them. It also offers web sites to assist students self-assess their interests, abilities and values. Career exploration sites are provided as well. The article suggests other resources to take advantage of in choosing a major or career including one's professors, classmates and college’s alumni. The article is very focused and perfect for the overwhelmed teenager feeling oppressed over the need to declare a major. The article also provides a book list regarding college majors.

*I found Quintessential Careers - Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. a very informative and detailed article on the process of finding a college major and a possible career.

In the article, Dr. Hansen, who by the way is the Webmaster of Quintessential Careers, offers an important piece of advice by saying that above all else when going through the college and career process do not panic. His advice says that college itself is all about choosing a major, thinking about a career, getting an education. There is no need therefore to rush toward a decision. He goes on to state that even though some students enter college with a declared major, many times they change their major at least once if not several times during their college career.

The article list steps one can take in the journey toward discovering that ideal career path. The author also suggests that your major in college is important for your first job after graduation only, because people change careers about four or five times over the course of their lives and no major exists that can prepare you for that! Therefore, do not panic!

The steps in the process however include:

l. Self-assessment of your interest
2. Examination of your abilities
3. Examining what you value in work
4. Career exploration
5. Honestly evaluate your options and obstacles
6. Finally, narrow your choices and focus on choosing a major

In each of the above steps, Dr. Hansen gives resources to help in the process. Some of them are on the Quintessential site and others are not. Also, he list a number of books that are useful and tells students to take advantage of sources such as college course catalogs, professors, classmates, college alumni, family and friends and the college career center.

I found this site easy to follow and extremely informative - a lot of what he presents helps his own website, but I still found it appealing and helpful.

In step one, Dr. Hansen mentions the Quintessential Careers: Career Assessment to determine ones own interests. My question is how important do you think career assesments are and if you feel they are accurate and useful?

The fifth step asked that students take a reality check to see if the goals they have set for themselves are realistic. In your opinion are a lot of students detered from their goals because of family commitments, financial obligations, or the fact that they might want to have a profession that they do not have the skill for?

Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path

This article was written by a college professor: Randall S. Hansen, PhD. It is well laid out with lots of links to other websites and with a list of books to refer to for more information. The article starts out explaining how it is not uncommon for students to change their major in college, and how some schools have dual and even triple majors available. Dr. Hansen lays out his article about choosing a major in six steps. He discusses each of the six steps in terms of the journey a student is on when he/she is deciding on a major. The first step he discusses is the self-evaluation/assessment process. The second step is to exam one's abilities. He discusses strengths and weaknesses and how to look at one's past in high school. The third step involves what one values in work. The fourth step is career exploration. He encourages students to link to UCBerkeley's Career Exploration link and check out some detail descriptions of careers. The fifth step of a student's journey is the reality check. He wants the student to honestly look at his options. The sixth step on the journey is the final step. He discusses narrowing choices and focusing on a major. He then gives the student other resources to explore. He recommends students review their college catalog, their professors, classmates, college's alumni, family and friends, as well as their college career center. This article has many links and resource books listed for additional exploration. I liked it because it was very personal. Dr. Hansen talks about his path to his career as a college professor and webmaster.

Dispelling the Myths of Career and Tech Schools

This article focused on the common misperceptions of career and tech schools and how they can be extremely helpful to many individuals. These types of schools don't seem to be taken seriously, especially when they are frequently advertised during midday soap operas. The article goes on to ensure that many of these schools have good programs and that it is not limited to 'skill' based jobs, but also includes programs in business management and biological sciences. The article highlights that those looking to be nurses, cooks and court reporters would greatly benefit from a career or tech school rather than investing so much at a university.


University of Virginia’s University Career Services called “Choosing and Using Your Major”. You can find this handout and many more really good ones at  (These are all various PDF files)

UVA opens this document with the “Major” Myth, which states that
“Most college students think a corresponding academic major exists for each specific career field, and that it’s impossible to enter most career fields unless they choose that matching major for undergraduate study. This is not true!”

And like Jennifer’s article, this handout states that “most career fields don’t require a specific major, and people with specific majors don’t have to use them in ways most commonly expected.” UVA continues by stating that the choice of a major is only one of the many factors towards future career paths as your grades, the electives you choose, and the skills you acquire often tell employers more about what you have to offer. To follow a few of my fellow researchers’ thoughts, UVA also believes that a liberal arts education can offer several benefits to include
1. A personalized education (individual educational needs)
2. Broadened global view (cultural explorations)
3. Generalist education (for those with broad interests and diverse ideas)
4. Liberal arts skills (skills that can be transferred into the world of work)

And, UVA feels that a college major alone will not get you a job. Internships, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities also provide experience that are required for career choices.

However, whether you choose to follow the liberal arts road or want to decide on a major, the main questions that you need to ask yourself are not “What should I major in?” or What can I do with a major in so-and-so?” but “Who do I want to be? What do I really want out of my life? What kind of person am I, so far? Where do I really want to go with myself?” This self-assessment is like map-making with your choice of academic major as one part of the map to reach your chosen career goals, and your minor, electives, internships, vacation jobs, leadership, and extracurricular activities as the other parts of that map.

UVA does suggest three strategies for choosing a major:
1. Major in something with a high potential for developing you as a human being.
2. Consider a major that provides a good background for the professional areas you hope to enter in a graduate school.
3. Develop a marketable combination of liberal arts major with a practical course work concentration i.e. a second major or minor.

And, concludes that “by working hard to answer the right questions about yourself, it will be much easier for you to plan your college curriculum so that you can study what you enjoy learning about, what you can do successfully, and what will serve as groundwork for the future you want for yourself.”

The Challenge of Counseling in Middle Schools. ERIC Digest.

The article “The Challenge of Counseling in Middle Schools” was of particular interest to me. As a Middle School Counselor, I am aware of the importance of students in this age group to make a ‘game plan’ for their college and career choices.

Counselors in middle schools work with young people whose lives are in constant flux. Early adolescence is a time of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development, during which young people confront the question “Who am I?” Early adolescence is difficult for most youngsters, a time for challenging one’s self and the ideas brought from childhood. The child, who in elementary school was obedient and academically motivated, may seem disrespectful and lazy in middle school. Early adolescence begins the transition from acceptance of adult direction to challenging authority and moving toward self direction. Counselors implement various practical strategies to help middle school students move toward self understanding. These strategies include such activities as maintaining daily journals, group counseling, and developmental classroom programs that offer young people opportunities for self exploration.

The Challenge of Academics – Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the need for schools to promote academic excellence. Individuals in the business community and elsewhere complain that young people do not have the basic academic skills necessary for economic success in a competitive world. It is necessary that middle school counselors should collaborate with teachers to implement programs that help their students develop a reasonable “work ethic.”

The Challenge of Career Exploration – In the search for identity, young adolescents struggle not only with the question of “Who am I?” but also with the question “Who will I become?” The latter question is often answered in terms of future occupation. Adolescents face an ever-changing world of work, a fact that is often neglected by overburdened middle school counselors. Middle school counselors have many opportunities to promote career development and career exploration among young people. It is important for young adolescents to learn the skills that will eventually help them achieve gainful employment. These skills include how to write a resume, how to fill out a job application and how to interview effectively for a job. Middle school counselors must be especially attentive to the special needs of exceptional students in the area of career exploration.

Middle school counselors are faced with issues such as dysfunctional families, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, school dropouts, and numerous other difficult matters. Preventive and developmental programs seem to be the most promising and cost-effective approaches to counseling with young adolescents in middle schools. Such programs are likely to help young adolescents satisfactorily address the question, “Who am I?”

How to Find Your Ideal Internship
Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

This article from the Quintessential Careers web site speaks directly to students about the importance of interning and about how to find an internship that is "right for you." I'll summarize the three parts of the finding process.

1. Determine Your Internship Goals -- Hansen suggests several questions to ask yourself, such as the following:
-- What do you hope to gain from your internship?
-- Do you want college credit for your internship?

2. Prepare/Polish Your Job Search Skills -- Hansen recommends paying attention to these elements of the job search: cover-letter writing, resume preparation, and interviewing strategies. Each of these elements is a link that leads to information on the topic (and sometimes to products and services that are sold on the web site). The information on the link pages is very worthwhile.

3. Find/Track Down Internship Sources -- Hansen suggests many places to go for assistance in finding internships. Besides the obvious, such as the college career center, he suggests the alumni office, internship and career fairs, and internship web sites (there is a link to a page that is loaded with internship site links).

Hansen wraps up the article by suggesting follow-up strategies after applying for an internship (the usual job-hunting ideas, such as making a follow-up phone call and writing a thank-you letter after each interview).

WebQuest lesson plan "Have We Got a Career for You!"

The lesson is designed to get high school students critically thinking from perspectives they may not naturally venture to. The students are asked to collaborate in groups of four and perform their career research by selecting several careers that they find interesting. They will have to narrow down to one career for the final report presentation using either a Hyperstudio stack or Powerpoint.

The students must each select a role of
1. The Educator-evaluates the training and education necessary for entry into the career
2. The Personnel Manager-assesses what skills are necessary for entry into the career for the interview process, job search, resume writing
3. The Money-Lover-researches the starting salary, projections for the future of the career in respect to salary potential, typical retirement plans accompanying that career if any
4. The Self-Actualizer-explores the real day-to-day functions of the career as well as flexibility, variety, general quality of the work environment

The students then do outside research using pertinent internet resources, live interviews, school career centers, libraries. They view their research from the perspective of their particular role.

This unique approach adds dimension to the career exploration beyond the usual dry data and definitely makes it more personal.

Procrastination: Cause and Cure, Part 1 and Part 2
Written by: Flora Brown

This article describes the causes and the cures of procrastination. This is a problem that effects everyone, both old and young, students and professionals. This article provides the reader with many explanations as to why people put things off. Some of the common keys are:
1. fear of failure
2. overestimating the time left to complete a task
3. underestimating the time required to complete tasks
4. believing that they must be in the mood to do a task.
5. over reliance on time-saving modern technology

At the end of the first section there are 2 quizzes that the reader can take to see if they have any of the character traits of a procrastinator.

The second article is
Procrastination: Cause and Cure, Part 2 written by Flora Brown discusses the 6 steps to avoid and fix procrastination.
The steps are as follows:

1. Change your flawed thinking to positive, realistic thinking, to get motivated you must use positive self-talk.
2. Set clear goals for yourself.
3. Prioritize and partially your tasks
4. Organize your work area and tools before you begin.
5. Use reminders to help you remember important tasks
6. Reward yourself. When you’ve successfully completed a task.

I think as counselors if we recognize the reasons why students procrastinate and address those reasons we will be able to help them see the college search and even choosing a major as an enjoyable experience and something that shouldn't cause them too much anxiety.

This online booklet, “Finding Your Career Direction,” is put out by the College of Human Ecology at the University of Minnesota and is available at the career services section of the U MN website. It’s a useful and user-friendly site, with step-by-step suggestions for exploring careers.

The first section of the booklet is called, “Career Myths.” Myths listed include:
“I must be absolutely certain before I act.”
“There is one career cut out for me...if only I can find it.”
“My career must fill all my needs.”
“It is best to specialize if you want a job...People with liberal arts majors don’t get jobs.” Just seeing these misperceptions in print is myth-busting.

The next sections take students through suggested steps toward Career Competencies. Each step lists further resources for gaining self-knowledge or information about careers and requirements.
Stage One, during the freshman year, involves developing Awareness.
Stage Two, during the sophomore year, takes on Exploration.
Stage Three, in the junior year, is a time for gaining Experience.
Stage Four, in the senior year, is a time for Action.

The third large section takes the student through four building blocks:
1) Interests – resources include taking the Strong Inventory through the school and going to the website for Career Key, a free Holland-type inventory ( The Career Key website is also very accessible and helpful, pointing beyond itself to other resources as well.
2) Skills – includes lists of questions to consider and places to go for further help in assessing strengths.
3) Personality – suggests taking the MBTI through the school to gain more insight
4) Values – again, a possible inventory to take

The last section is called the Career Action Plan and provides the student with a place to write out goals and an action plan.

The career services website, of which this booklet is a part, also has a Career Planning Guide that lists the individual steps to take during Stages One through Four above.

I will summarize the two general articles College Board offers on college majors: "Let's Go Surfing: Use of the Internet for Career Counseling in Schools." It was from ERIC/CASS Digest.

The article explains what, also referred to as CXOnline, can do for career counseling the students as well as explain the best way to help the teacher use the program to makes the counseling more successful. is a great program that schools can use to counsel students. The program is an interactive program that is updated daily for students and parents. Teachers can either help students, through, research careers and academic needs for careers through the site.
The article explains the best usage for in classroom or in a counseling office.
The article begins with suggestions on how to start-up the program within the school and the gives suggestions on the Day-to-Day use by both student and teachers. The article explains how the teacher can utilize the various aspects of CX-Online for classrooms daily.
The article also gives an example of how one school utilized the program help low-performing students by using it as an incentive for In-School suspended students.
There is a discussion regarding its cost and how schools can find funding for the program. It suggests involving the principal to demonstrate it's importance to students and to counseling.
The conclusion is that CX-Online must be used everyday and that that one negative aspect of this program is that the counselor usually needs to be the expert and stay up-to-date with all of the updates of the program to keep the program useful to students and to teachers.,,4-24-0-468,00.html?orig=sch
Choosing Your College Major
So, what are you going to do with your life?

This is a simple, straightforward article written in a passive voice. It begins by putting the reader at ease about knowing or not knowing what their major might be. Then five tips are presented with several explanatory sentences after each. The items covered are: the definition of a major, when to declare a major, how to choose a major, does a major dictate one's profession, and what if one wants to go to graduate school. The College Board's advice regarding this last item is “as long as you fill a graduate school's course requirements, it really doesn't matter what you major in.”
Career Counseling of Youth with Learning Disabilities

Career counseling in high school is important for all students, especially students with learning differences. They have a higher drop-out rate as compared to their non-disabled peers, and benefit from a cognitive approach to career counseling (Biller, 1987).

Students with learning differences often have characteristics that contribute to career difficulties such as:
Lack of maturity and awareness of their own abilities.
Poor planning skills.
Lack of problem solving skills.
Immature social skills.
Difficulty with reading.

Research shows that adults with learning differences have reported that many of their career problems stemmed from a lack of understanding of their disabilities. By the same token, adults with LD that have successful careers chose their job based on their strengths, which leads to job success and satisfaction.

Doing career exploration in high school would allow students with learning differences to understand both their strengths and their weaknesses, and chose a career path that acknowledges both areas.

One was It's Never Too Early -- or Too Late -- to Visit Your College Career Office” by Mary Keen Krikorian. (you need to scroll down to the article to access it)

The article is written for the college student contemplating the usefulness of the Career Guidance Office in the semesters prior to their last. The purpose is to suggest to students that this office will do more than focus on their career, it can be useful for selecting a major, gaining perspectives on their personality traits that might influence career paths, discover the means to break into a field and generally provide extensive support services beyond simply ‘finding a career’.
The article notes that many students are disappointed to find out so late in their academic careers that this office exists and that there are so many resources they can utilize. We understand that college is best experienced by those students able to advocate for themselves and this article is a wonderful reminder for students of the wealth of resources that lie just beneath the surface.

Unfortunately for me, I left college without using the services of career counseling. I knew I wasn’t ready to jump into a job and I was going to take a few years working non-white collar jobs in Maine and New Mexico. The problem was that when I was ready for a 'real job' I was too far away to use the services and really entered the search phase unprepared.
The Princeton Review:
Figuring Out What You Want to Do

Article Summary:

This Princeton Review article was excerpted from “145 Things to Be When You Grow Up”, and is directed at helping high school students figure out what kind of work they want to pursue when they graduate. Similar in some ways to the article by Jennifer Gross, this writer also recommends that students begin by exploring their personal interests first, and provides several links to other websites that are related to general career exploration and college majors. Students are asked to consider:

·        What job will help me be myself?

·        What job will enable me to incorporate my interests, values, and skills?

The author also suggests that students consider their personal values, unique personalities, diverse learning styles, and particular skills and abilities. Additional related links are offered for students to review -- and hopefully -- to help them begin to explore their personal characteristics. This article is intended for high school students, and suggests that students begin to explore careers “right here and right now”, rather than waiting until they get to college.

For students who are still uncertain about where to begin, the writer of this article recommends that student join clubs, do volunteer-work, and get a part-time job. Learning to be responsible at home, at school, or at work is the first step in learning about job skills. All of theses job-related activities will help students gain skills and talents that they will need to call on later in life.

This article was written in a simple format, and in a user-friendly manner. Although the article provided fairly basic information, the information offered in the linked articles is more targeted to specific career interests, and is much more detailed.

I chose an article entitled, Major Decisions: Some Common Misperceptions about Choosing a Major,” which I found on the Penn State University website

 The premise of the article is that students often begin their exploration of majors with preconceived ideas about the best ways to go about choosing a major, but many of these ideas are misperceptions that are not productive or that are not efficient. The website covers 5 common ideas about choosing a major and discusses why these might be misperceptions.

Misperception #1: The best way to find out about majors is to take courses.
The problem with this approach, though it may work for some, is three-fold: 1. If a student takes a course to learn more about a major and then decides against the major, he’s eliminated one major but hasn’t selected any. This could be quite time-consuming and inefficient. 2. Sometimes it isn’t possible for a student to enroll in a course in a major until he is actually enrolled in a major. 3. A student can learn a great deal about a course and major just by browsing through the required textbooks, reading the course syllabi, and sitting in on a few class meetings.

Misperception #2: I’ll just get my Gen Eds out of the way first.
The problem with this approach is that some majors may need two or three additional courses in one Gen Ed area, or may need a specific course for students in that major vs. a similar course for Gen Ed purposes (i.e., Biology for pre-med vs. General Biology). Also, many colleges do not permit students to use courses from their own department to meet Gen Ed requirements and do not allow courses to double count for both Gen Ed and their major.

Misperception #3: Picking a major and a career is the same thing.

A major in one area (i.e. the arts or humanities) does not mean that you are not qualified for other types of jobs (business or teaching). Also, students seeking advanced degrees such as medicine, law, or an MBA, can have almost any major and still be accepted into those programs. The site notes that, “Choosing a major does not limit you to only one career choice; choosing a career does not limit you to only one major.”

Misperception #4: Choosing one major means giving up all the others.
The site reminds students that there are concurrent majors and sequential majors, as well as many different minors. Many colleges allow students to combine interest in several different majors and create their own major. Again the site reminds its readers that post-baccalaureate degrees do not have to be in the same area as undergraduate degrees.

Misperception #5: The major I pick now will determine my lifelong career.
Studies have shown that within ten years after graduation, most people are working in careers not directly connected to their undergraduate majors. People change jobs while remaining in a related occupational area (i.e., teacher to district office position) or change careers altogether.

Note: Another article I read, “Myths About Major Choice,” (, says that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the average American will have 3.5 different career fields (not jobs, careers!) and work for 10 different employers. It also notes that over 80% of workers in the US are currently in a career field that is not directly related to their college major. It says that most majors don’t give a student a ticket to enter one career but the skills that one can use in a variety of careers.

What Can I Do With A Major In?

This is a valuable site for students heading to college pondering options for majors, students in college trying to decide on a major, and students exiting college figuring out a career path. The site shares material in a well organized and usable format. Multiple links to corresponding sites are offered which facilitate the process. Exploration of majors, job listings, internships, career planning, job search, and feature resources are topics covered. The information is broken down for students, alumni, faculty, employers, and parents. Subject areas are: Job Listings, Internships, Career Planning, Job Search, and Feature Resources.

1.) The Job Listing topic offers students suggestions on how to find full-time jobs, con-campus jobs, and summer jobs. For the UNC-W student, it also has a thorough listing of recruiters who will be visiting the campus.

2.) The Internship section offers a variety of help including a downloadable, 21 page handbook on the subject. The Internship Services Online link is a collection of up-to-date information on over 2800 organizations offering internships and summer jobs for students

3.) The career planning topic is especially useful for students curious about possible majors. Under “What Can I Do With a Major In…?” link, a long list of majors is given and students can click on any of the majors to see a list of professions that are associated with that major. Different assessments such as career interests and personality preferences are covered in detail with corresponding links. If a student is interested in a service project, links to groups like AmeriCorp are provided. There are suggestions lists for international opportunities.

4.) The Job Search topic is resourceful in a variety of ways. There is a link for job outlooks in a given calendar year. There are links to resume writing and cover letter writing. Interviews are also listed. There is a section on “Top 15 Ways Employers Look for New Hires” and “Top 20 skills Employers Look for in New Hires.” Another useful link is to “Dress for Success.” And all students want to have a knowledge base on potential earnings. “Salary Sites” can be helpful in that department.

5.) Feature Resources cover a gamut of miscellaneous subjects. Some of those are articles from the Wall Street Journal, a UNC-W post graduate survey, and relocation resources.

"What Can I Do With a Major In..."

Each major field of study contained data from recent college students who had graduated with a degree in that field. The data included the percentage of those who went on to graduate school (including the school and the degree they pursued) and the employment results of these graduates (including a list of their employers and the title of their position). The data also included a range of salaries for these grads. The information is easy to access and informative.


Please click on the tutorial to get to the first section entitled Introduction to Choosing a College Major”

This site is maintained by Rivier College, a small, Catholic, coed college serving both undergraduate and graduate students in Nashua, New Hampshire. Total student population is around 2,500 and almost three-quarters of the students are New Hampshire residents. I found this very well-written, thorough piece by tooling around on my favorite meta engine, Mamma. It concerns itself specifically with how a liberal arts student should choose a career and what steps could be taken to make this candidate employable in the future.

In Synopsis:

This section, as all the others contained here, directly addresses the student. It is easy to understand, and the major premise here is that choosing a major does not mean a step by step career plan is in place. And that is OK. People change careers often more than once in a lifetime. (Look at some of us right here in the class…)

Should I choose a Liberal Arts Degree or a More “Occupation Specific” Degree?

My bent towards liberal arts education is no secret, and this is a liberal arts school. However, this section has a wonderful kernel that one should consider majors as if they fall on a continuum. On one end, there are highly specific knowledge skills needed in say, nursing. On the other end, there are broader, more transferable skills found in liberal arts majors such as English. A student should think about what type of skills might be needed in areas that interest him/her.

The Value of a Liberal Arts Foundation:

A little bit of a pitch for the school here, but worthwhile in understanding how liberal arts educated students are attractive to future employers.

Skills are Key/The Employers Perspective:

The thesis continues with demonstrating to the liberal arts student that skills are necessary for future employment, and an example is given of a political science major who joins advertising organizations to make him “skills” in this field.

Types of Skills that Increase your Employability:

This is a very good section because it clearly breaks down skills into three categories:
Functional (verbs –doing, repairing, analyzing, motivating), specific knowledge (nouns –that work with functional such as repairing an airplane engine) and personal trait (adverbs- work with the above two such as repairing the airplane engine precisely). Three questions are then posed:
1.        What are work settings… that interest me?
2.        What can I do to explore and prepare for these options?
3.        What related course work and hands on experience would be beneficial?

Strategies for the College Major Selection Process:

Excellent step by step process that puts the decision making in the student’s hands.
Steps include:
Identifying the Decisions to be made, Gathering information about oneself, Brainstorming, Evaluating Options, Deciding on an Option, Designing a Plan of Action,
Implementing the Decision, and Evaluating the Decision based on the Outcome.

In conclusion, this is an easily digestible piece which offers specific guidance as students choose their majors. For discussion, I would like to pose the following question.

In our changing economic times, what three skills (examples: computer, public speaking, writing, leadership) should every college graduate possess and why?

A career and major site that appeals to me is the Rutgers University guide to “Career Planning for High School Students.” Here is the URL:

This site is clearly structured and very readable. There are three main sections:

1) Career Planning Overview. This section provides a brief introduction to career planning that includes this definition: “Career planning, in fact, is an ongoing process that allows you to rethink and reevaluate yourself and your career options as you have experiences, and as you grow and develop.”

2) Why Career Planning in High School? This section has a brief checklist of tasks to be completed in high school:         

o Take a variety of classes to learn subjects, strengths and interests.

o Learn to develop new skills through classes, clubs, activities, etc.

o Begin to explore career options. Talk to career professionals, advisors, counselors, teachers, parents, and friends. Do some research into careers that are of interest to you.

o Find summer or part-time jobs or voluntary experiences which allow you to try different career areas. These are real-life experiences.

3) Pre-College Career Planning Components. This is the “meat” of the article. It lists 5 steps, each with links:

Step 1        Assess Yourself        
Links to an inventory based on the Holland Hexagon that calculates a score on six dimensions: social, artistic, conventional, enterprising, investigative, and realistic. Students identify their top three.

Step 2        Generate Options        
Provides links for each of the six dimensions to a list of majors and a list of career options associated with that dimension. Students identify the majors that interest them.

Step 3        Gather Information        
For each major that interests them, students link to List of handouts on careers related to that major. Handouts contain career information such as job descriptions, salary, and outlook. For instance, the handout entitled “Career Opportunities for Majors in Social Work” contains an introduction to the field of social work; a sample of related occupations; types of employers, including private and non-profit organizations as well as government agencies; jobs in the field obtained by recent Rutgers graduates; and jobs of experienced alumni.

Step 4        Make a Decision        
In this step, students learn about decision-making styles and a decision-making process.

Step 5        Take the Next Step        
Students identify the steps to make and implement an action plan. Many useful links are provided.

Collegeview Career Center

This site is directed towards high school students helping them to understand what career opportunities are out there, what education is necessary in order to enter these careers, and how to choose a career. Through this site a student can begin the process of planning a career path starting their freshman year in high school. It identifies specific actions students need to take each year in high school to launch them on a career path in college. This site offers detailed information with links to choosing your career, education and training, self assessment tests, skills and tools and career resources.

Because Richard Boles is an author whose advice seems timeless and highly regarded, when I came across this article as a way to look at the field of online personality and career assessments, I was immediately attracted to it. I think it is part of a great site listing many of the good sites for these things, all categorized. The article that I read by him was “The Fairy Godmother Report on Test and Advice Sites”. It addresses his opinion on whether online career counseling is helpful. He believes that there are good sites for interactive tests, articles dealing with career issues, career manuals, and answers to job-hunt problems delivered by “truly competent career counselors” for free. Yet, he still thinks the total effectiveness of solely using online career counseling is 10%, the other 90% either not needing any help or needing more personalized help.

Boles’ one complaint is that he thinks a lot of the advice on detailed answers to common job-hunting problems such as resume writing is either “dead-wrong” or superficial. He says, “this defect would go away tomorrow if these ‘personnel experts’ had to go out and find a job themselves tomorrow.” Question: How do you react to this statement for yourself since as college counselors we are in some ways needing to be ‘personnel experts”?

Majors & Careers,,4-24-0-0,00.html

The College Board webpage on Careers and Majors is loaded with links to articles and worksheets that assist students in determining their path after high school. The information includes topics such as the future job market. There is a list of top ten careers based upon job creation and which fields those jobs will be in. This might help a student when they start deciding which major to choose. There is a link that helps students figure out what type of job they could pursue with the various majors. Another link provides information about jobs and the college degrees they require. The article gives a list of sample jobs for two year colleges, four year colleges, and beyond four years. The webpage gives links to a tremendous amount of pertinent information but could add a few “worksheets” so that students could have a hard copy of their time spent on the web.

Your Soul's Work

Jason Smith, the author and creator of the website has a M.A. from Pacifica Graduate Institute and continues to study with C.G. Jung Institute in Boston.  Smith's premise distinguishes between "speaking" and "listening". One must weed out the voices of family and friends and enable the singular voice of oneself to be heard. Smith employs poetry to endorse his perspective.  This is a valid point, but it might be difficult for a teenager to understand and employ. The majority of students with whom I work still reside in very traditional households. Their families guide them and therefore tell them what career path to chose. Secondly, if a seventeen year old does listen to their voice, do they have the knowledge to make an informed decision? What do they know of the 55,000 careers available?  What do you think of Jason Smith?  Is this a valid premise for teenagers?
Do we have time to employ this approach with our students?

Career development and job-search advice for new college  graduates

This article does an excellent job of presenting to a student the benefits of engaging in the career assessment process. Often, students do not take the assessment process seriously resulting in random responses that are not well thought out. Consequently, the usefulness of the assessment feedback becomes significantly diminished.  An overview of various types of assessment tools is also provided in this article. It gives the reader a clear understanding of the specific criteria each tool evaluates and how to interpret the results.

Choosing a major is nothing to take lightly. It’s a major undertaking? By Mark Rowh College Bound article from Career World Magazine

How to choose a major is the topic of this article. Students should be aware that choosing a major is not an easy process and should be sure to take enough time to make their choice. Students should take the time to read the college catalogs carefully for specifics as to what majors are offered and when a student needs to declare a major. The article recommends that students take their time toward self-discovery and not rush into a major. The choice of a major may or may not be related to eventual career goals. Certainly, if you are hoping for medical school, a science major would be in order, this is not the case for students wishing to go into law. There are many resources for exploring major of interest some are; informational interviews with people in the field, shadowing someone working in the field your interested in, internships, volunteer opportunities, sampling different elective classes, visit the career counseling center on campus and career interest inventories. Changing majors is not uncommon but should be thought through in order to avoid problems later on like delaying graduation.

Ethics and Regulations of Cybercounseling

Hughes begins her article by defining Cybercounseling (from the NBCC - National Board or Certified Counselors):
“the practice of professional counseling and information delivery that occurs when client(s) and counselor(s) are in separate or remote locations and utilize electronic means to communicate over the Internet."

She divides her piece into the four sections that follow…

What Are Critical Issues In Cybercounseling?
Hughes sites issues that are concerned with the therapeutic side of counseling, such as: confidentiality, privileged communication, duty to warn, counselor competence, dual relationships, anonymity, and fee structure.

State Regulations and Cybercounseling
In this section, the author writes about: the client recourse if there is a complaint, technical aspects of state counselor licensing, which professional organizations have their own established internet related policies (mainly health care groups).

Other Salient Issues
The writer raises questions and concerns here. A few are: the digital divide (who will be left out), are online counseling degrees valid for a state license, how does an individual using the web evaluate the validity of information obtained on the internet, many different professional organizations should collaborate in order to establish acceptable cybercounseling standards.

Regulation needs to begin with some type of national counselor certification in cybercounseling, then perhaps moving on to an international worldwide license.

This article basically outlines a debate that many people are having regarding cybercounseling. The questions/problems that may arise during cybercounseling need to be dealt with and at this time, few states have set any regulations for cyber counselors. Licensure and qualifications are not necessarily required yet it is a growing field with a relatively large clientele. I found this to be a very interesting topic and I think you will too.

So What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

The article I read discussed the notion of first jobs for the 22 year old which has many angles that are interesting. I think it is an old fashioned notion that when you get out of college you do something productive with your life. Many of our parents took a job that they planned on having for 25 year. Grandparents always ask what the 22 year olds are doing after graduation and when you say that they are going to Australia for a year to find themselves you get very strange looks. I think that some students need their GAP YEAR after graduation. You may need time to figure out what is your "island of competence" and what is going to be your current passion.
Click on "Career Advice Articles Library"
Click on the article, "Choose Your Major As You Choose Your Best Friend" by Steve Bohler

This article is appropriate for teenagers who feel pressured to choose a specific career or have questions about what they want to study in college. I enjoyed reading the author's personal story about how he chose a career based on income rather than passion. I think it is beneficial for teenagers to hear this message while they are evaluating their options. I especially liked the suggestions that the author provides to help high school students choose an appropriate career:

1. Don't feel pressured into a decision.
2. Take a variety of electives that you are interested in.
3. Research different careers and talk to people who have the jobs you are considering.
4. Assess and evaluate your individual strengths and preferences.
5. Pick a major that interests you and has a variety of job possibilities.

Collegeview Career Center

I decided to review the Collegeview Career Center website because I found it to be a very straightforward and practical career planning site. The career planning section is part of the larger Collegeview site which is a search engine for college, financial aid and career searches.
The Career Center is comprised of 12 different topic areas with many articles and additional links to explore. The career planning area has an excellent step-by-step approach for high school students to follow that will guide them through the career planning process during their 4 years of high school. Additional areas will assist students with occupational searches and a career directory. There are also tips on resume writing, interviewing techniques and job hunting skills.  Much of the information that is contained in the career planning area would also be useful for college students as well, as they continue to plan their careers.

Why Your College Major Matters,3868,4-24-0-959,00.html

Brief article highlights the debate about the importance of choosing a major. The debate is between those who believe major doesn’t matter because the skills acquired in college are “universally valued” and those who believe major does matter because major dictates the extent of opportunities. Author plays both sides of the fence by suggesting that the more progress one makes in a career the more important skills become, and consequently the less important major and the degree becomes. However, the author also suggests that the choice of major is important because major helps direct the career by pointing the student in the right direction. The article provides reasons for taking the decision serious and advice on why taking the time and doing research are valuable. Related articles include Choosing Your College Major, and the link to is provided for students to explore college major and occupational match.  This article is short and sweet and offers good advice for taking the decision seriously. Yet, it also offers a real world perspective about what happens once students begin to gain experience in the working world.

The article I chose and read dealt with how important your major actually was in your life. The article discussed that, in the long run, one's major choice was not all that important, but that it would usually serve as a potentially career boosting start. In summary, the article suggested that your major choice could have a major impact at the start of your career endeavors and so it would be of great benefit to the students to take their major choice seriously and take some time to pick carefully what they wanted to spend the next several years studying.

*Why Your Major Matters And How to Choose Just One,3868,4-24-0-959,00.html

The article starts with stating that there is some considerable debate at to how important choosing your major is. Some believe the skills you build are universally valued, some believe the major you choose dictates your opportunities. The article breaks down these two beliefs by time frame.

Long Run:
a.        in three years of work experience, you degree begins to fade into the backdrop of your resume.
b.        after five years, it is relegated to the fine print.
c.        five and beyond, it is a minimum requirement for employment.

Near Future:
a.        you need to start somewhere, a series of unrelated jobs won’t launch a career.
b.        you need to be pointed in the right direction
c.        the major you choose can help to direct your career.

The article prepared for your career today if you had picked a completely different field of study?goes on to tell all the reasons why choosing a major is a serious decision (expense-both money and time, additional degrees—Master’s, PhD’s) and should not be taken lightly and decided on quickly. Putting off this decision can result in delay of graduation, and an unwise, convenient choice later to be regretted.

Why Your College Major Matters,3868,4-24-0-959,00.html

This article starts by stating that some people view major as the most important factor in proceeding to a career while others see the major as building universally acceptable skills.
What's important is the time frame. When you graduate from college, your major is important for the first 3 years at least, because it dictates the scope of career opportunities that are available to you. After you start at your first job, you build skills which transcend your major. After 5 years, your major has no importance, the degree becomes a minimum requirement. The article goes on to say that you invest 4 years to study a subject in detail and you will be successful in what you have invested in.,3868,4-24-0-959,00.html
Why Your College Major Matters
And how do you choose just one?

I found this article to be a little confusing. The College Board says there is ambivalence around how important your major is. In the long run, one's major is not important because the work experience acquired after five years of employment minimizes the value of one's major. On the other hand, the major you choose can help direct one's career; so a major does matter soon after graduation. Students are encouraged to make a serious decision about a major. It is a serious investment of time and money, so make sure to be truly interested and pointing in the right direction.

Sometimes students are overwhelmed with deciding on a major; this article cautions them to “take your time and do the research.” After a student narrows his/her list of majors and careers (the article makes no suggestions about how to do this), it is suggested that students take classes, talk to professors, pursue internships and talk to people in the field- for each possible major (Stevie's note: I hope they have a list of one or two majors to explore).

I was disappointed in both of these articles. Neither was empowering or particularly encouraging. I felt like rolling over and dying after reading them, rather than getting excited about my future college studies. I would not suggest that students use the College Board site if they needed guidance, or help with developing a strategy to determine a major. Take a peak at Princeton Review's well-developed section on choosing a major. There's a big difference.

The lesson I learned this week: Just because a particular site is great in one aspect of the college process, doesn't mean it is good in another area.,3868,4-24-0-959,00.html
Why Your Major Matters (and How Do You Choose One)

This article, offered within College Board's College Search - Majors and Careers section, discusses how choosing a major impacts a student's life. Looking both at the short term and the long term, it presents the decision as a weighty one, and emphasizes that the decision doesn't need to be made too early. The article suggests taking the time during the first two years at college to do the research, to take courses in possible majors, and to talk to people in the field.

Pre-Law, Pre-Med, and Business Majors Picking the Right Major for the Right Career,3868,4-24-0-31364,00.html

The article focuses on pre-law, pre-med and business majors. In the very short article, it focuses on the coursework needed to enter post-bac programs rather on completing a specific major. This is a great article to share with students who don’t understand the “myth” that pre-law and pre-med are actually majors.

Free Online Tests Dealing with Careers

Not all career assessment tests are created equal. This article is a great simple approach to assessing the assessors. It is especially important as with all web sites to understand the roots of the site, its authors and its purpose. Having the ability to scrutinize these tests and intelligently evaluate them is as important as taking these assessments.

Why a Small Liberal Arts College Could Be Your Kid’s Best Choice By Joy Castro, 15 August 2003

This article addresses the reputation of the “small liberal arts” schools as being expensive and only for the rich. Many affluent parents send their kids to private liberal arts schools because they know the many doors that the liberal arts opens. Many college bound students will go to large public schools out of fear of costs jeopardizing the needs of a student and quality, (in some cases). The article is suggesting the reputation of liberal arts is for the elite, rich and famous.

New financial aid programs are helping disadvantaged students. In the early twentieth century, and in some areas of the country the immigrants, minorities, and the poor are pushed into vocational education schools. Hopefully the new programs will attract theses students and empower them into leadership.

The small liberal arts colleges provide a very nurturing environment, face to face interaction and small group discussion. It opens up many doors for different career options. The LA pushes students to explore and use critical thinking which can be used in all careers. At a liberal arts school you will observe students in class debating ideas with peers and professors. The advisors are asking “What are you interested in?” and offers many options. Encouraging students to think in many different ways is what liberal arts is all about. The Greek meaning for liberal arts is liberty and freedom.

A solid liberal arts program provides texture, nurturing, critical thinking and life long skills. Students of the 21st century will change their career an average of eight times during their working life. The need to have a flexible mind, tolerance of ambiguity and ethical complexity is learned over and over again in a small liberal arts school.

The following is a great site in support of the Liberal Arts. The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts has its homebase on the campus of Wabash College in Indiana. The site has a wealth of information and you can also sign up to get it's eletronic newsletter which comes out a couple times per year.

Career Colleges & Schools: Options for Life After High School,3868,4-24-0-31371,00.html

This article addresses pros and cons of specialized colleges and explores the variety of available programs and finding the right one based on cost, credentials and quality, and faculty and student body. It explains the importance of considering all options.  It is a simple and straight-forward account for the student beginning consideration of this option.

Trying to Figure Out Career Plans and College Majors

The article outlined the importance of implementing a career search and career assessment in assisting students in choosing a college major, and ultimately the college of their choice.  I liked how the author was hesitant to place too much emphasis on picking a career so early in a student’s life, and how the job market and job descriptions of each career may change from now until they are out of school.  If we only look back 5-6 years we can see an ever changing landscape as to how many jobs are performed.  My position, as a school counselor, has changed immensely and we now incorporate the internet for research, applying, and making contact with colleges and college personnel.  Something that was non-existent only 5 years ago. 

This article emphasized that students should work on preparing an action plan in order to match their career self-assessment with proper resources that will allow them to research different majors and schools.  Although the article ended with a plug for an advanced career counseling component through this company, the information that was free of charge was pertinent and useful.  There were a series of links for more specific information about the general career aspects that were discussed in the article.  The website, and in particular this article, was easy to navigate or find, and the information was up-to-date and correct!  It also did an excellent job of addressing the population that this article is aimed at, namely students.  All in all the entire career component to Princeton Reviews website was very well organized, and extremely useful.  This article was one that highlights many of the issues surrounding career exploration and related it to college majors.  It certainly met its purpose and goal and then some!

Myths & Facts about College Majors and Careers

This article succinctly dispels many myths related to college majors and their purported relation to future careers and graduate school. The article is a reassuring one-sheet designed to lower student anxiety. My favorite fact dealt with the mythic correlation of academic major and its primary role in future career success. The author explained that career preparation is holistic and includes a college major and “internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work…in developing your skills and abilities.”


Reality Checks for Career Planning,3868,4-24-0-8585,00.html

I always seem to find myself coming back to College Board for many different things. It's a reliable, credible source, and it is kept up to date with timely information. I liked this article in particular for its simplicity. Many of the other articles I read, although informative, didn't seem to be as user-friendly for students. I can envision asking students to read this article, make their lists (in the section entitled "So What Can (or Should) You Be Doing Now?") and then use those lists to spark a good dialogue about future planning. I liked the emphasis on flexibility; reminding students that it's perfectly all right to not know what they want to do or change their minds about a previously held idea is very important. I also lliked the paragraph called "Satisfaction, not status, is key." I have had students, male in particular, tell me that they would love to go into what they see as lower paying professions, such as teaching or occupational therapy, but they feel they need to have a higher income. Software engineering may yield a higher income, but that doesn't guarantee job satisfaction or happiness. That said, my discussion question is: how do we, or should we, encourage students to pursue a career path in which they seem truly interested if the prospects for employment in that field or salary projections are poor?

Career Pressures Mean No Time for Exploration” by Kemba Dunham of the Wall Street Journal

From the moment they enter college, more and more students are much more concerned about job skills and are following academic paths that are much more career-oriented than in years past. This viewpoint is attributed to students having watched the dotcom crash, a recession and lay-offs, as well as having concerns about paying off heavy student loans. This attitude has affected the intellectual life of campuses and has changed expectations that students have for faculty and for the colleges themselves.

College and Career Quest Exercise

This is a worksheet that students can use to guide them through beginning to look at careers, college majors, and college choices. The worksheet asks students to take a career inventory, research those careers, what you can do with those careers, and then look at colleges with those majors. I liked this site because it is very comprehensive, going from searching for a career to looking for colleges with that career in a short worksheet.

Career Key Personality Summary

The article summarizes the basics of personality theory and relates it to career choice. It describes each personality type, and shows which other types are related, as well as gives concrete examples of professions considered matches for each type. Read the three links from the main page. There are many other links and a self-assessment here as well. The article is on The Career Key website

When I Grow Up: Five Tips For Those Who Still Don't Know What They Want To Be."  by Valeria Young, the publisher of Changing Course (

It has been my experience that many students want to explore different majors and career options but they do not know where to begin. This article helps people to think about blending a career with their passions in life.
Tip #1. Make your career fit your life, not the other way around.
Tip #2. Put happiness first, skills second.
Tip #3. Look back to discover your future.
Tip #4. Go on a clue hunt.
Tip #5. Enlarge your view.

It has been my experience that students worry about money when they are thinking about careers. Valerie suggests that money will come when you are doing the right thing. I think that this might be a hard sell to some families but it is a nice idealistic way of thinking.

Don't let old assumptions hamper your success

The author, Peter voigt, explains that as part of his master's thesis, he began look into the generalizations made about college majors and the careers they lead into. He uses an example of a girl who loves her artwork and would love to do it as a career but thinks that there is no money in it.

He feels that students make these assumptions based on false or misleading information. He thinks it is a shame that students are abandoning their dreams based on misinformation. I totally agree!

He states that we find ourselves believing things that parents, fellow students, family members, etc. are telling us about career salaries and opportunities. It seems impossible to put your finger on "who" actually stated the facts that they relay onto students.

I agree that we should do our own investigations into our futures and follow our hearts. I have had many people ask me "Can you really make a living by college counseling kids?" I answer them emphatically "Yes!"

The Princeton Review “Top Ten Jobs for your Career Type

A very brief article with helpful links that offers a “career quiz” with 24 questions. Not an in depth assessment but a start. There is a list of the top 10 jobs for people who like to keep learning and as it says in the title, career matches for your personality or preferences. I would categorize this article as fun and interesting but I doubt that any serious life changes would come of it.

America's Career InfoNet Career Resource

The reason I recommend this site is that I think that the video clips will appeal to students and give them a visual concept of what various careers entail. While the list of careers that are available there may not be encyclopedic, it is quite extensive. I do think that the majority of the videos are more applicable to those students who are entering trade schools or apprenticeship programs rather than 4-year college programs. However, there are a substantial number of videos for careers requiring a college degree. I think this site offers a great variety of information for students of all backgrounds.

Four 2 Explore Careers
This article is packed with useful links to many sources for career information and exploration.  Many of the links specify grade level appropriateness, which is very helpful in utilizing your online time efficiently.  High school counselors and academic advisors developed many of the links.  I would definitely consider this site a useful tool for preparing our final project.I focused my attention on the  link for the discussion part of the lesson.  


Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)

The ASVAB is a nationally normed multiaptitude test battery developed and maintained by the Department of Defense.
The ASVAB Career Exploration Program helps one to identify the things you're good at, are interested in, and the things the military can offer you. The ASVAB Career Exploration Program is a tool to help students identify and explore potentially satisfying occupations and to develop effective strategies to realize their career goals. In addition, students learn career exploration and planning skills and decision-making skills, The program provides students the ASVAB Career Exploration Guide, which includes a self-scoring interest inventory and the OCCU-FIND. The interest inventory provides students with RIASEC-based interest codes that they can use to identify potentially satisfying occupations. The OCCU-FIND organizes and presents relevant information about occupations of interest to help students identify tentative career choices and is linked to occupational information for approximately 500 civilian and military occupations. The Web site also provides students with downloadable exercises that will guide their career exploration and planning. For example, a Coursework Planner helps students evaluate the appropriateness of their current high school program of study, determine what they need to do to graduate, and enhance their career-related skills while still in high school.  A segment of our high school population is not necessarily college bound. For some, it is one way to actually find a career and go to college. This assessment is available to all high school students (sophomores, juniors & seniors) at no cost. It is given by the US Military and does not require a service commitment.
Is college the answer to each and every high school student?

Adventures in Education

The Adventures in Education site has many articles for students, parents and counselors about career planning, college planning, financial aid and beyond. I particularly like the step by step approach they take with career planning. For high schoolers they have a Develop Career Goals area full of great information. The first two sentences would be comforting to any student. "Is that feeling in the pit of your stomach fear— or excitement?

With all the career possibilities out there, choosing your life's adventure can be a bit scary— and exciting. Calm down. You don't have to decide on the perfect job right now. Take some time. Head in a general direction that fits your interests. You can adjust your route later on."

Step by step they take students through the development of a career plan, appropriate testing and course planning, finding the right kinds of schools, applying, financing your education and getting a job. Many of our students use the Getting a Job section for help with developing a resume and what to expect when going for an interview.

I chose the article “Using the Internet in Career Education” by Judith Wagner. I liked the “authoritative voice” in this article, because it contains a quick reminder of how to review a website, but also helped me to recall information I learned in the “Testing/Career Assessment” class.

The opening quote caught my interest immediately “If job seekers or career counselors choose not to participate in using the Internet as a key tool in career development, they may be cheating themselves and their clients.”

The article is broken down into several sections: - Identifying Websites – Evaluating Websites – Selecting Websites. Ms. Wagner lists 5 sites as beginning points for the job seeker, and suggests that we peruse the University of Pennsylvania’s Career Service Page – .

On the professional side Ms. Wagner suggests checking out the Listserve VOCNET, to “listen” to the experiences and expertise of those in the field of vocational education. What was particularly interesting is that Ms. Wagner posted a question to the Listserve asking them how people were using the internet in career education, and she lists some of the results in the article.

With demand for nurses likely to increase in the coming years, I wanted to provide students considering a career in health care with information about the variety of types of nursing schools and nursing careers. Students often don’t know the difference between RN, LVN, and nurses aides. They do not know the differences between university based nursing schools, technical college nursing careers and post graduate nursing studies. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has websites that provide much of the basic information of this sort for students. For example, the site
gives basic answers to the questions above. They review the value of a BSN degree, describe job opportunities and opportunities for advanced programs in health care administration. They discuss salaries, work hours, credentialing and continuing medical education needed for health care professionals.

While researching the site There you will find an article entitled The Seven Rules about Taking Career Tests written by Richard Bolles.

Step 1: “There is no one test that everybody loves”. Some types whether they be “forced choice” or ranking yourself against others make some test takers uneasy. The form of the test has to fit the person taking it.

Step 2: “No One test gives ‘better results’ than another”. Your feelings about the type of test you taking can skew the results.

Step 3: “No test should necessarily be assumed to be accurate”. In other words don’t let the results of a test define who you are. Tests should be used to help you map out previously unexplored territory. If you are asking for more, you really are asking for too much!

Step 4: “You should take several tests rather than one”. This is where the rule of three comes in…you should take three or more tests.

Step 5: “Always let your intuition be your guide”. If the results of a test don’t sound right the probably aren’t right. If something peaks your interest, follow it. Listen to that still, small voice; it is your best guide.

Step 6: “Don’t let tests make you forget that you are unique”. The ideal way to take assessment is face to face and in person so you can talk to a counselor. Results seem to compartmentalize. You don’t fit neatly into one category. Just like your finger prints, there is no one like you.

Step 7: “You are never finished with a test until you have done some good, hard thinking about yourself”. Tests help put you on the path to discovery, but you need to do the footwork.

Intern By Design: Creating Your Own Internship

High school students who have not held a skilled job find it very frustrating and overwhelming to go out and find the volunteer and internship opportunities that would give them that first foot in the door as well as give them valuable experience and a taste of what working in a chosen field is actually like. This article is pushing students and their teacher/counselors to go above and beyond in career exploration.

Instead of trying to find an internship that fits what the student may be interested, this article urges students to take the initiative and seek out and design their own internships. This of course should be done with some guidance. The steps are for the student to brainstorm and identify influential people that they admire. Then the student should write formal letters requesting an internship opportunity. From there, if the student follows up and contacts these people or organizations, they may be able to find internship opportunities that did not previously exist.
This is a great exercise for students to learn how to take the initiative in the job hunt. Typically, students will look in a big binder of volunteer opportunities and sign up to do some service they neither find meaningful or engaging. If they search out their own internships students will be more bought into the experience and they will also learn business communication skills with letter writing and networking. I think students may find this a very empowering and rewarding experience if they invest their time in this.

The article starts out…“Good internships are like good haircuts: easy to see, but not so easy to come by.” This piece emphasizes the popularity of internships. In addition, it encourages the student to create an internship of choice by contacting the desired company and offering his/her services as an intern. The article gives steps as to how to proceed:

1.) Select a person whose shoes you would like to fill.
2.) Research the person.
3.) Contact the person introducing yourself and the concept of being his/her intern.

The piece highlights how this “ad hoc” internship can prove rewarding for both the student and the “employer.” It cites an example of a student who created an internship position with a constitutional lawyer. The experience proved invaluable.

As the world of business continues to become ever more competitive, the need for an edge is crucial. An M.B.A. for example from a quality school might just supply an interested business student with such an edge. Specialization in Accounting, Commercial Banking, Investment Banking etc. can be accomplished with just such a degree. I would like to provide students with information that will enable them to make an educated decision on what path to follow in their business career.

The following article form The College Journal From the Wall Street Journal:

"Should you invest in an MBA" is one of many articles on this particular subject matter. The article delineates the evolution of when a high school diploma was sufficient, then a college diploma, then an M.B.A. and now the "quality" of the M.B.A. program has become the determinate factor. This is known as the "degree creep." Further the need for students to distinguish themselves in their job as well as in their extra-curricular activities and experiences has become of paramount importance if they want the opportunity to be successful. The article will take a student through the determining factors such as cost, feasibility and merit.

I reviewed the Skill Development Summary link as I was interested in how high school students could identify skills needing development versus those they have already mastered. I accessed this site through Course Documents-Online Resources, clicked on Career Assessment and then clicked on Skill Development Summary. I could not find the exact URL for these pages. It appears as though it must be part of the site

This site identifies skill sets in 6 major categories-Communication, Relationship, Leadership/Management, Analytical, Creative, and Physical. Under each cateogory are listed several specific skill sets. For example, Core Communication, Instruction, Persuasion/Promotion and Consultation/Influential are listed under the major category of Communication. By clicking on each skill set, a list of specific skill development activities comes up. The list is very specific and practical. However, not all of the activities would be applicable to students but rather to working adults.

Technology-Delivered Assessment: Diamonds or Rocks?

Combining the dramatic increase in number of computers in schools for instructional use (ratio of students to computers is around 5 to 1), Internet connectivity, and the use of assessment by educators for a variety of reasons (in particular, for purposes of this paper, in helping a student during the career decision-making process), the author highlights “the rules or best practices that should be followed by educators in evaluating, selecting, and using technology-delivered assessments.” These rules follow existing professional standards.

He presents guidelines in checklist form so that educators can properly evaluate whether a technology-delivered assessment meets these guidelines and the purpose of the assessment.

This checklist includes:
-- Guidelines for Test Quality
-- Test Scoring and Interpretation
-- Test Administration
-- Credibility of the Developers
-- Access to Professionals
-- Staying Current, Keeping Updated

This checklist provides objective, standard-based criteria we should keep handy to use before deciding to administer a particular technology-driven assessment. The clear explanations under each item in the checklist will guide us in arriving at a wise decision regarding use of internet-based instruments.

The author emphasizes the importance for us as professionals to keep current and updated on developments in the field. He provides a comprehensive list of web sites that should be checked periodically to identify new and important information related to assessment and the use of technology.

This was a fairly interesting article talking about the use of technology in the area of assessment. The concept is that we all interact in some way or another, on a daily basis, with technology by just going online. And 95% of all public schools are equipped with computers and most have Internet access. So it only seems like a natural that technology and assessment should “shine like a diamond”. But under the wrong conditions and without proper care this combination can “be a rock”.
I will attempt to list the diamonds versus the rocks.

Diamonds:-Accessibility: various tests for various purposes (college entrance, course placement, certifications career decision –making, personality assessment-Immediate feedback: key advantage-More efficient testing: time and money saved by more accurate target of persons to test-Ability to assess higher order skills: more authentic conditions, real world simulation-Helping persons with disabilities: physically challenged have voice recognition, touch screen        

Rocks:-Lack of accessibility: Internet dependent on income, racial, ethnic and urbanicity-Test security problems: vulnerable to compromise-Concerns about test taker identity: person really the correct person?-Issues of privacy/confidentiality-Lack of information on the quality of the instrument-Problems with test comparability: different scores with different formats-Gender, racial and ethnic disparities- Reporting and interpretation: not appropriate-Lack of human contact: meaningful intervention (skilled counselor)-Issues of familiarity with technology: students who learn on computers have advantage on computerized assessments

So how do the diamonds get sorted out from the rocks? Everyone must be in constant awareness of the various issues that relate to the construction, production, administration and interpretations of tests through the computer or Internet. And there are many organizations that have produced policy statements and standards for testing so one does not have to recreate the system.

Making the Most of Your College Career Center

I found this article on the Princeton Review website to be very informative. Entitled “Making the Most of Your College Career Center” this article dispels the myths behind a college career center and offers helpful tips on how to utilize its vast resources. Many students fail to use the resources that are available on campus either because they are unaware of what is available or because they are intimidated by taking that first step. This article explains why a college center is helpful to students in their career exploration search. Many of the reasons given are very persuasive: job listings, career assessments, workshops on career related topics, and interviews with perspective employers- and all of these services are free. The article is written in a way that offers advice to its readers- mainly college students. Straightforward and humorous, the article is one that is helpful for all students who are in college.

Turning Interests into Jobs: Student Stories,3868,4-24-0-229,00.html

The 2nd article presents two stereotypical students and what their potential career choices (and major choices) could be if they went to college. This is a very simplistic article that illustrates one point and does it reasonably well : turn your interests into your job if you play your cards right during college. It's a point that too many kids ignore and abandon their truer callings because of that.