A Major Decision…
Selecting The Right Career and College
Most high school students go about the college selection process entirely the wrong way. They begin by selecting a college first, and often this decision is based upon one of the following factors:
- My parent(s) attended the school
- My boyfriend/girlfriend will be going there
- All my friends are going there
- It is close to home
- They have a great football (basketball, hockey, etc.) team
- I received a partial scholarship to attend
Next, they’re off to college with no idea what they want to embrace as a career upon graduation, nor what majors the school offers to support their undecided career path. They’re off to college, yet research suggests that 80% would admit that they’re not certain what they really want to major in, while up to 50% of college students change their major at least once before graduation (and some change several times).**
In our workshops, we explain that this is an example of the college selection process “from the heart”, rather than “from the head”. Approached pragmatically – or “from the head” – the steps in the college selection process are now inverted, and your student sequentially determines:
- What career he or she wishes to pursue upon graduation
- What major (or majors) support this career choice
- Which universities offer the desired major and supporting curriculum
Career Selection Process
We recognize that asking a high school student to make a lifelong career decision at age 18 may be a relatively pointless exercise. But if you are able to assess the student’s interests and aptitudes, perhaps a correlation may be made to identify possible career paths for which the student is well-suited.
Our research of such an assessment tool has led us to endorse the Strong Interest Inventory®.
** “Major Decisions”, Pennsylvania State University, by Michael J. Leonard.