Charting Career Paths Early
I agree with her in trying to
separate the students into three groups. I would like to focus on the
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:
http://www.collegeboard.com/csearch/majors_careers/profiles/) 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:
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
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
want to choose this major?
5. How important to the major are skills in math? In reading? In writing?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
Careers in the Military
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.
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
But some people worry that choosing a career based primarily on economic
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.
Face-Off: Career vs. Liberal Arts Majors
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
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
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
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
7. Distance counselors must “Maintain Counselor-Client Contact
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
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
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
http://www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/050713bf.htm . An excerpt from the
“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.”
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Function in a team environment
Written and oral communications skills
Eager to learn
Dependable and responsible
Able to work with minimal supervision
- 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
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.
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:
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
Keep a journal and record success and excellence in field
Plan college classes around your major to enhance your employment
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:
a. Like: You don't have to pick a career before choosing a major.
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
I looked at the article, "Exploring
Majors," which came from a Providence College career center link:
www.providence.edu/Career/Students/Exploring+Majors.htm. 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
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
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
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
*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
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.
- 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
- 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.
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
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:
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,
3. Motivated Students to be Well-Informed (so they can make their own
4. Engage in Parental Collaboration (newsletters, emails, conferences,
5. Above all, Listen! (to their wants and needs)
Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path By Randall S. Hansen.
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
Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your
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
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
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
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
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
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
The students must each select a role of
1. The Educator-evaluates the training and education necessary for entry into
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
“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
(http://www.ncsu.edu/careerkey). 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
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
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. www.ericfacility.net/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed446332.html
The article explains what Bridges.com, 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
Bridges.com 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 Bridges.com, research
careers and academic needs for careers through the site.
The article explains the best usage for Bridges.com in classroom or in a
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
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.
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
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.
“It's Never Too Early -- or Too Late
-- to Visit Your College Career Office” by Mary Keen Krikorian. http://www.quintcareers.com/college_grad_articles.html
(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
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
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
· 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
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
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,
Decisions: Some Common Misperceptions about Choosing a Major,” which I
found on the Penn State University website http://www.psu.edu/dus/md/mdmisper.htm
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,” (http://www.indiana.edu/~career/find/major_myths.html),
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
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
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
"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
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.
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”
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
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
Types of Skills that Increase your Employability:
This is a very good section because it clearly breaks down skills into three
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
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
Identifying the Decisions to be made, Gathering information about oneself,
Brainstorming, Evaluating Options, Deciding on an Option, Designing a Plan of
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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 MyRoad.com 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
*Why Your Major Matters And How to
Choose Just One
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.
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.
a. you need to start somewhere, a series of unrelated jobs won’t launch a
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
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.
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
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.
Why Your Major Matters (and How Do You
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
Pre-Law, Pre-Med, and Business Majors Picking the Right Major for the Right
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
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 http://liberalarts.wabash.edu/cila/home.cfm?news_id=1254
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
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
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
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
Reality Checks for Career Planning
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 (www.changingcourse.com)
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
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
http://www.careerkey.org/english/ link for the discussion part of the
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.
http://ericacve.org/docs/pab00010.pdf 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
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 – www.upenn.edu/CPPS .
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
http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/counseling/ctests.shtml 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
into Jobs: Student Stories
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